The world offers us some truly amazing stories, both fictional and true. We could talk about how great a story J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings is or how great C.S. Lewis’s Narnia captivates his audience. We could chatter about the stories of Simone Biles’s amazing gymnastic victories or Alex Honnold’s great feat of free climbing El Capitan. Sometimes we hear crazy stories that truly make us scratch our heads like how some teenagers decided to cook their chicken in one of Yellowstone National Park’s hot springs. But the greatest story of all time did not belong to any of the great authors, daring sportsmen and women, or oddly creative teenagers – it belongs to none other than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
There is a reason we celebrate Christmas with food, thanksgiving, gifts, and family. On the day of Jesus’s birth, God extended unfathomable hope to us: hope of the freedom in Christ that had been promised, hope for a new life, hope for a Savior, and hope for the fulfillment of God’s promise to his people. Christmas is not only a day where we look forward to opening presents, hoping to discover a life-like Baby Yoda in our gift pile. Nor is it a day just for turkey and songs about chestnuts roasting over open fires. Christmas is a day of celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and his ministry on Earth.
When Jesus was born, the Heavens above and the Earth beneath celebrated because the King was born. He lived the perfect life on Earth, fulfilling the promise and setting an example for his people. He showed us true humility, love, kindness, peace, patience, joy, goodness, self-control, faithfulness, and gentleness. Not only that, he sacrificed himself on the cross, fully knowing that it was his Father’s will and carried excruciating pain he did not deserve.
It’s important to understand the complete and utter humanity of Jesus during his ministry on Earth. Fully man as well as God, he felt pain and sorrow. He could die. His death as a complete human is the reason we have all this hope for a new life in Heaven. If he had not been fully God and fully man, it would not have been possible for us to be saved and we would have no hope in this world. 1 Corinthians 15:13-14 reminds us “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Furthermore, 1 Peter 1:3 says “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Romans 6:5 further confirms “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”
This is why we celebrate Christmas with songs like “Joy to the World” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Because of Christ’s birth, we were saved. So the next time you open gifts, remember that the only reason this is possible is because of the birth of Jesus Christ, without which we would have little reason to hope. As you appreciate the smiles on the faces of your family when they open their gifts, recall the real reason we celebrate Christmas.