The Reason.        

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” Matthew 2:1-8

Christmas is just around the corner, and many people will seek to make Christmas 2023 their most memorable.  To some, Christmas means gift-giving and receiving. To others, it means children’s plays and pageants. Christmas to others includes family activities, decorating the Christmas tree together, get-togethers, and wonderful meals with relatives. Sadly, for too many, Christmas means overindulgence, drunkenness, debt, and even family anxiety. Worldliness has stolen the purpose of Christmas and even fanned the flames of hostility towards its true meaning and purpose.
King Herod was the first in a long line of people to become hostile towards the true meaning of Christmas. Scripture shares, “When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.” (v3). The confirmation by the priests and teacher of the law that a messiah’s birth was foretold both alarmed and agitated Herod. He responded to this news with deceit (v7-8) and then hostility (Mathew 2:16, murder of innocent boys). Herod pretended to be a big fan of Christmas, but his focus was on himself and his future reign. 

Today, there is ongoing hostility towards the true meaning of Christmas. Christ came into the world to save sinners, which is the reason for the Christmas season. Truthfully, you can’t think about the stable without thinking of the cross; the two are inextricably intertwined. Telling people that the purpose of Christmas is about the salvation of the world is going to disturb a lot of people. Those most likely to be concerned are those who believe Christmas is all about giving gifts, going to parties, and singing Christmas songs. Now, this may sound Grinch-like, but scripture does not say, “We saw his star in the east and have come to give him gifts”, or “We saw his star in the east and have come to give him a party”, or “We saw his star in the east and have come to sing songs to him”. It says, “We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him”. The world behaves as if it doesn’t want to be saved and it doesn’t feel a need to worship a saviour.

Jesus said about Himself, Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” The truth is that every person, including those reading this article, needs a SaviourNicole, you and I are sinners whom God loved so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins and for whom Jesus willingly gave His life. God, in His love, provided a way by which we can have eternal life, forgiveness, acceptance from God and a relationship with God. Jesus puts it this way to a Pharisee named Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). What an enormous gift we all have received that first Christmas and that is worth celebrating. 

We can celebrate Christmas, but remember the reason for its existence, especially over these next five weeks. God wants everyone to be saved. Make prayer your gift to others, including strangers, asking God to intervene in their lives. When you are out and about, do what Jesus did: leave a place of comfort and look for those who need comfort. Listen to those around you, offer a hand, a hug, or a prayer.