“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
Here we are. Another Christmas! Shopping malls are bustling with people; streets are decorated with all kinds and colours of lights. Homes are adorned with Christmas ornaments; Christmas trees are stocked with gifts and ribbons; greeting cards and stockings are hanging in the living rooms; families are planning the greatest turkey dinner for their loved ones. Stores and shops are making their greatest sales of the year.
There is joy in the air all around. Shouts of “Merry Christmas” and Christmas carols fill the airwave. Churches are making preparations for great display of Christmas carols and plays hoping this year’s will surpass last year’s. Offices and companies are having Christmas parties for their staff. Is this what Christmas is all about? Is this the true meaning of Christmas?
Indeed these are some of the ways people have a good time when good things happen to them. The birth of Christ is the greatest event and the best thing that ever happened to mankind that deserves celebrating.
However we are often so consumed with all the preparations and celebration that we tend to miss the true meaning of Christmas – the display of God’s Grace to mankind. Christmas is the time we remember and celebrate the birth of Christ – the Showcase of God’s great love and grace. It’s when God sent His One and only Son into a cruel and sinful world to save it from sin. Jesus is therefore the embodiment of the Grace of God displayed.
What is grace? Grace is often defined as God’s unmerited favour to those who don’t deserve it. Dr. J. I Parker in his book “Knowing God” describes grace as “God’s love in action towards men who merited the opposite of love…(It’s)…God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves.” Parker continues, “Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven.” This is the essence of Christmas.
It is sin and grace that compelled God to send His Son. The Bible grouped all mankind under sin “for all have sinned”. We are all born with the sinful nature, which we inherited from Adam. And the penalty for sin is death. Therefore, sin’s penalty needs to be removed, but nothing we could do to eliminate this nature.
But God loved us so much that He sent His One and only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life (John 3:16). Announcing the birth of Christ, an angel of the Lord said to Joseph concerning Mary, “She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). On that first Christmas morning, the angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings (good news) of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
As we celebrate Christmas, let’s not forget its true meaning – God’s grace displayed. That is good news. The best way to celebrate Christmas is to accept this Grace. I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with God’s grace.