3 Wonderful Reasons to Celebrate Christmas

Image by  Pia Cerda

Image by Pia Cerda

The Christmas season is a time when we often celebrate family, friends, joy, life, and all the good things we have. There is much for which to be thankful, and appreciation and enjoyment of these things is good. Yet, it is also easy to forget that Jesus came into the world without many of these things.

Jesus was not born into a festive family home ablaze with lights, the aromas of good food, and the joyful sounds of music and festivities. The buildup to his birth didn’t include lights, caroling, or cookie parties. Rather, Jesus came into the world where animals were kept. His earthly father was a carpenter; his mother was a young girl—one who was suspected of having sexual relations before marriage, and not with her husband to be. His first visitors were lowly shepherds and Eastern wise men. And yet, despite the differences, here are three reasons why it is perfectly fitting for us to celebrate Jesus’ birth joyously with overflowing hearts of gratitude:

1. Jesus takes our place before God’s judgment seat.

We all hate being judged by others, especially when our faults, sins, and transgressions are pointed out and we will suffer some hard consequence. Imagine a courtroom setting where God as the judge is passing just judgement on your sins. God is perfectly righteous, good, and just—and we are not. In fact, sin pervades even the nicest things we try to do.

Because God is just he must judge sinners. For our sin we must suffer eternal separation from the goodness of God and only experience his wrath against sin. This is our just condemnation if we try to stand alone and on our own merits before God.

Yet, God is also good, merciful, loving, and kind, and he promised a Savior who would willingly suffer for us in our stead. The righteous Judge sent his only begotten Son to take the punishment that we deserved, so that we could have forgiveness of our sins and a righteous standing before the good Judge.

Jesus willingly undertook this sacrifice because of his love for his Father and his love for us. Thus, we should rejoice exceedingly because the birth of Jesus was a major step toward God’s fulfillment of his promise to send a Savior who would take our place of judgment and give us the righteousness we need to stand blameless before the God of the universe.

2. Jesus welcomes the forgotten and poor.

I love how Jesus enters the world. He is born into a poor family, and his mother was a young girl who was suspected of fornication. He would grow up in a little unimportant town. His first visitors were shepherds of lowly social class. Jesus himself wasn’t popular, good-looking, or famous. 

God sent Jesus to the broken and lowly. Jesus didn’t appear in palaces to be applauded by the healthy, wealthy, and worldly-wise. He came to those with whom no one else would bother. Such is God’s great love and mercy. He bends down to comfort and build up the weak. He pours a special blessing and honor upon those whom the world would never notice. The birth of Jesus shows that God the Father longs to gather to himself those who are lowly. God cares for even the least and poorest of peoples.

We do not earn a standing before God based on our bank account or social status. No, the Father welcomes the poor and needy. The physically poor, lowly, and outcasts are also a picture of our spiritual state. We are broken, poor, dirty, guilt-ridden sinners, outcasts from God. Jesus came to gather those broken lowly sinners—the dirty ones—to himself and to the Father.

We should celebrate the coming of Jesus because it reminds us that God’s love covers all our sins, making us clean before God and part of his family. Trusting in Jesus Christ as our Savior means we have received the gift of God’s love and a welcome into a forever eternal and loving family. We will never be outcasts again. 

3. Jesus brings light into a dark world.

Light is such an important resource. One of the hardest things about winter is getting up in the dark to go to work and getting out of work when it’s dark again. We miss the glorious light of the sun. The gloom can easily set in. Without light there is no way to chart a clear path—we fumble around in the dark.

Do you remember a time the electricity went out, and you had to search in the dark for matches or a flashlight? Think of the world with no clear knowledge of God, his goodness, mercy, or love. Before Christ came, the darkness of sin was very powerful and overwhelming. Philosophers had theories about morality, goodness, and gods, but the world did not have the Light. The world was fumbling around in the darkness of sin, groping for answers but unable to find the ultimate life-giving truth and light that only come from God. 

In Christ, God sheds his light of salvation upon this world. The Israelites had God’s truth but not its fulfillment. They had a promise—a glimmering—but not the fulfilled reality. When Jesus came, he was the fulfillment of God’s promise to break humanity out of the shackles and darkness of sin and to bring them into the light of the glory and blessing of God.

We can celebrate the coming of Jesus, because in him alone we find the light that frees us from the darkness of sin. We find the light that breaks into the darkness of our lives and hearts, changing and drawing us out of darkness into a relationship with the Light Giver. Praise God for sending a Savior who takes our just judgment upon himself, welcomes the broken, and sheds light into our minds and hearts.

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