Christmas is a well-known festival all over the world, having different perceptions be it commercial, traditional, spiritual and so on. In the Gospel of Luke we see that Joseph and Mary did not get a room for an overnight stay. While they were staying in a stable along with the cattle, baby Jesus was born in a manger. Paul in his letter to the Philippians explains the birth of Christ as the peak of humbleness.
“Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,[b] 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:6-8
But do we remember this noble act of God in our celebrations? If we remember the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross each Good Friday, then why are we unable to accept the birth of Jesus Christ in this perspective. The sufferings of Jesus began on Christmas day. Indeed, it is a joy for mankind and the joy is not because of any magical power of God but because of one man’s sufferings.
God Came as Man
As a son of man, Jesus helped his father in carpentry. He walked on dusty roads and did not have any place to sleep. Jesus accustomed Himself to the hardships of mankind and was able to sleep in the lower deck of a boat. Leaving all this aside, people celebrate Christmas as a fantasy. Many people think that Jesus came as God and that is why He was able to bear the sufferings. If he is God in the form of man, then was there any valid reason for Him to leave heaven. God was longing to dwell among his people but was unable to do so because of their sins.
At Mount Sinai, God asked Moses to instruct the people not to come near the mountain. Even after they had cleansed themselves for the assembly, they were not holy enough to come near the presence of God. In another instance we read that, Uzzah who touched the ark of the covenant to prevent it from falling down, died on the spot.
“And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. 8 And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah[d] to this day.” 2 Samuel 6: 6-8
If Jesus had come in the form of God no one would have survived. For this reason, the Son of God came in the form of man. God wants to dwell among us in spite of our short-comings. That is the real joy of Christmas.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son[d] from the Father, full of grace and truth” John 1:14
Is Christ Real?
John writes that God loved us so much that He sent His only begotten son to this world. His son understood the depth of His father’s love, which is meant not only for Him but also for all mankind. Christmas reminds us to have the same love of Christ in us, so that we will not seek our own interests but the interests of others. The whole world is seeking Christ Jesus for their own interest. While the world made Christmas a commercial event, we must remember our part in proclaiming the Gospel. Shepherds after hearing the good news, immediately departed to meet the new born baby, Jesus.
Year after year people in churches hear this good news but fail to look beyond the pastors and elders to meet Jesus Christ. As they do not encounter Christ, they fail to understand that they are the royal priesthood. Church, the body of Christ, will only be active if it has Christ as its head.
Christ is Real
To overcome this situation, Jesus asked His followers to deny themselves and carry their cross. Only when we deny carnal things, we will be able to understand the love of Christ who denied all the glory and comfort of heaven. Christ was able to do this, because He loved us more than all His belongings. I was recently listening to one of the songs by Hillsong Worship and felt it aptly described Jesus’ longing for us to be saved. He does not want heaven without us and that is why He brought down heaven to us. Yet, we want to enjoy all our carnal belongings without Jesus Christ. Let us understand His love and only then, will we be able to throw away all the worldly things which are pulling us away from Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” Hebrews 12: 1-2