There are many wonderful traditions that surround Christmas, perhaps you have some that are peculiar to your own family that you look forward to each year. There are beautiful Christmas carols that we can’t wait to sing again, and delightful concerts that we enjoy. The special food we make for the holiday is another cause for celebration. But what is most important about Christmas? Christ, of course!
And yet it is too easy to miss Christ in the midst of all the bedlam. He was born that day in the little town of Bethlehem and many there missed the significance of His birth as well. But God made sure that some heard and worshiped. He sent the angels to announce that
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ, the Lord (Lk. 2:11 NIV)
So the shepherds hurried off and found everything just as they had been told. They glorified and praised God as they returned; and Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19 NIV).
What should we treasure most at Christmas time? The presents are nice, the decorations are pretty, but we should absolutely treasure most that Jesus Christ, the Lord has come to save us from our sins!
This year December 25th falls on a Sunday. What a wonderful opportunity to gather as God’s people and praise Him for our salvation, for the gift of His own Son to be our Savior! The day the Lord has set aside as His for worship and rest coincides with our celebration of the birth of Jesus, there is no better way to celebrate than to come and worship. Be flexible with your family traditions this year to proclaim to children and neighbors, to family and friends what you treasure most.
I look forward to saying “Merry Christmas” to each of you face to face this year!
May your preparations this Advent season be blessed,
Christians and Christmas
Christmas as a holiday was not observed until well after the biblical era. The early church of the New Testament celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, but not His birth. In fact, Christmas was not given any kind of official recognition by the church until the mid-fifth century.
Partly because so many Christmas customs seem to have their roots in paganism, Christians have often been resistant to some of the rituals of the holiday.
Christians today are generally not opposed to celebrating Christmas. The holiday itself is nothing, and observing it is not a question of right or wrong. As Paul wrote, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Romans 14:5-6). Every day–including Christmas–is a celebration for us who know and love Him.
How we observe Christmas is the central issue. Do we observe it for the Lord’s sake or for our own sinful self-gratification? Do we even think about why and how we celebrate it? That is the heart of the matter. Christmas is an opportunity for us to exalt Jesus Christ. We ought to take advantage of it.
-John F. MacArthur, Jr. The Miracle of Christmas (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1995), 25.