What's the first word that comes to your mind when you think about Christmas? Is it gifts, family, friends, parties, pain, loneliness, or even debt? How do you feel about another year to celebrate Christmas? If Christmas is going to be everything you dreamed it would be, one word I hope you associate with Christmas is the word love, because Christmas is all about love. It's not about what Hollywood tells us it is. It's not about a winter wonderland, kissing Santa under the mistletoe, or even putting up a tree.
Christmas is receiving the love of God, because Christ, whose birth we're celebrating, was God's ultimate expression of His love. "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). Immanuel, means "God with us," the incarnation of God in human flesh, God and man, God born of a virgin, God with us in the form of a child. Do you realize how much God loves you? He loves you so much that His Son left heaven, came down and confined Himself to the womb of a woman. He was born a human being; God in the flesh.
Christmas is all about a baby who was laid in a manger with the shadow of a cross looming over it. The baby laid in that manger is the Lamb of God who died to take care of your sins and mine. The Lamb of God who would hang on Calvary's cross. The Lamb of God whose blood would be a ransom, a payment to redeem you out of the slave market of sin. The Lamb of God who would die, be buried, and be raised again on the third day, never die to die again. The Lamb of God who would say, "He who believes in Me will live even if he dies" (John 11:25).
He knew why He had come. He was born to die so that you and I, who were dead in our sin, might have life. He came so that you and I who were separated from God might be reconciled to God. Christmas is about love, a love that reconciles, a love that takes two who are at enmity with one another and again makes them friends. Love reconciles.
It's not God who needs to be reconciled to man, but it's man who needs to be reconciled to God. Christmas is about love and a love that heals. Love salves our wounds and brings healing to us. This is what Christmas is all about. Christmas is receiving the love of God and then giving it to others. Is there someone you need to forgive, someone who needs to hear from you, "I love you"?
Let this Christmas be a time to focus on loving others and loving God. It's a process, but what a perfect time of year to begin taking steps towards making things right with a loved one and with God.
If you're not careful, you can miss the true meaning of Christmas all together. You may wonder about all the gifts that you're going to give to possibly your mother, father, sister, brother, husband, wife, and to your kids. The kids...they can become so excited; they cannot wait until Christmas morning when they can open their gifts. Do you remember that excitement, that joy?
I can remember when I was a little girl being so excited about saving up my money to buy my father a Christmas present. I could not wait until I could give him my gift. I wanted my daddy to love what I gave him because I loved my daddy. How much more we should love our heavenly Father. Does your life express your love to God? What will you give Him?
You might think, "How do I do that?" I want you to truly experience and understand what Christmas is really all about.
Beloved, it cannot be celebrated apart from receiving God's gift of love, apart from giving that gift of love to others, and apart from loving God as we ought to love God.
If this Christmas you're going to tell God that you love Him, then the gift you are to give to Him is the gift of obedience. Study His Word, know what it says, and obey what He says. It's one thing to hear His Word; it's another thing to obey it. "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). Slow down from all the hustle and bustle of this season and spend time with Him. Examine your life. Are there areas in your life you know aren't pleasing to Him? Confess it to God, and turn from it. Pursue Holiness, not happiness. All the trimmings of this world will always come up empty.
Joy comes through obedience and spending time with Him. "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever" (Psalm 16:11).
Don't just tell Him you love Him; show Him you love Him with an obedient life. What will you give Him this Christmas?
Beloved, be sure and celebrate the wonder of your gift — the Christ of Christmas — and then give thanks to God for the great love with which He has loved you!
Host, Precepts for Life
Co-CEO, Precept Ministries International