What can be said about Christmas that hasn’t been said already? We hear it all every year: “It’s over-commercialized!” “It’s too expensive!” And that’s true of the “Christmas” of the world. The world has, of course, taken the Christ out of Christmas and replaced Him with an X-mas–which to them is only a time of Santa Claus and toys, hollow promises, depression, and greed.
But that’s not the Christmas of the Christian. And even then, what can be said about the true Christmas that hasn’t been said before? Our children have already started to learn their parts for the Christmas Eve service. It is likely that we’ve heard these parts before. When Christmas Eve finally arrives, we will hear the kids saying many of the same parts that they said last year. Every year we hear from them what happened that first Christmas night. We hear the prophecies of the Old Testament promising the Savior; we hear that the only place that Joseph and the pregnant virgin Mary could find to lodge was a stable; we hear that Jesus was born there and laid in a manger; we hear about the angels and the shepherds, the wise men and the star.
Why go over all of this every year? Because those recitations are drawn from the account of Jesus’ birth contained in God’s Word. But won’t we get tired of hearing about what happened in Bethlehem so long ago? Certainly we’ve heard it all before because we want to. We love to hear of the events that occurred that first Christmas every time that they are told.
While the X-mas of the world comes only once a year, the celebration of the believers in Christ at CHRISTmas is but the beginning of a celebration that lasts the whole year through. Unlike the day on the calendar, our Savior’s birthday is not simply a one day birthday celebration. It is a year-long celebration of the forgiveness of our sins that begins at Bethlehem where the Savior was born, continues to Calvary where sin was paid for, and proceeds to that empty tomb on Easter morning. It is because of what happened at that little manger and in that empty tomb that this celebration will never end. Our sins are forgiven! God’s plan for our salvation has been fulfilled! Eternal life is ours! All because that little Baby, promised to us almost from the beginning of the world, was born in a little stable in Bethlehem just as God had said.
At Christmas time the jewelry stores tell us: “Christmas comes only once a year, but a diamond lasts forever!” After the presents are opened, the holiday leftovers gone, the tree waiting at the curb for the garbage man, and the toys discarded in the toy box, only one Gift will remain for eternity: the forgiveness of sins that God has given us through Christ Jesus. “For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
–Pastor Joel Fleischer
(Editor’s note: The X in the Christian Christmas is the initial Greek letter of the name Christ; this letter Chi looks like the English letter X.)