By Charles F. Stanley
In Touch Ministries
Most people define Christmas by what they see—the trees, lights, shopping, gifts, food, and parties. However, that’s not what Christmas is all about. It’s not something we can observe but is one of the three most important events in human history. God’s plan for the salvation of mankind had to begin with the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Without this, there would have been no crucifixion, no resurrection, and no hope for humanity.
Christmas is the celebration of that moment in history when Holy God came down to earth in the form of a virgin-born baby in order to reveal God’s love for sinful mankind with His death on the cross, which paid our sin debt in full. And every year we remember this truth and celebrate what Jesus did for us. He came to earth so that we could go to heaven. Once we understand the true significance of Christmas, our attitude about the holiday will change. Instead of focusing on the externals and becoming exhausted with all the preparations and activities, we’ll see that Christmas is about Jesus, who came to offer us forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life.
The Word of God is the only completely reliable source of information about Christ. Here are some things it tells us about Him:
• Matthew 1:18-23. This record of Christ’s birth reveals that He was conceived in Mary by the Holy Spirit, thereby fulfilling an Old Testament prophecy. Joseph was told to name the child Jesus because He would save His people from their sins.
• Colossians 2:9. Jesus wasn’t an ordinary man. “In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.”
• Isaiah 59:1-2. The Lord is not unable to save sinners, but our sins have made a separation between Him and us. According to Romans 3:23, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. This means we have violated His laws and are not what He intended us to be. The only one who can end our separation from God is Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, there is no way for us to come to the Father.
• Romans 5:10-11. Even though we may see ourselves as fairly good in comparison to others, God doesn’t see us that way. Our sins make us His enemies. Yet while we were in that state of enmity, Christ reconciled us to the Father through His death.
• Romans 6:23. We also deserve to die and be eternally separated from God because the wages for sin is death. The Lord sent His Son to earth to provide a way to forgive us and rescue us from this condemnation.
• Colossians 1:19-22. Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying in our place. He made peace with God though His blood shed on the cross. Even though we were formerly alienated and hostile toward Him in our thoughts and behaviors, Jesus reconciled us so He could present us to His Father as holy, blameless, and beyond reproach. Reconciliation is God’s work—His Spirit convicts us of sin so we’re aware of our need for salvation, and Jesus paid the penalty so we could be forgiven. When we believe this and accept what Christ did on our behalf, we are cleansed and reconciled to the Father.
• Ephesians 1:13-14. Once we have heard the message of salvation in Christ and have believed, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a promise of our eternal inheritance. This seal guarantees that our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life and will never be erased. The Spirit comes to indwell us forever, giving us assistance and guidance as we live in this world.
God’s Word is our guide for living and a light to show us the way in a dark world. If we ignore it, we’re like someone who smashes his compass and flashlight and then tries to find his way out of a jungle at midnight. God gave us the Scriptures to reveal Himself and His Son, and to show us the way of salvation. And that’s a plan worth following.