“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” once again. Toys are more abundant, Christmas music plays from every speaker and radio station, and Christmas lights twinkle as I drive home at night.
I love to look around and take in the beauty of the Christmas season. I am so thankful for the decorations, the parties, the music, the treats, and the gathering of loved ones. But there is so often something missing from the festivities surrounding Christmas: Jesus Christ Himself.
The festivities surrounding this holiday can be very enjoyable and sweet, but there is something deeper that we should be celebrating. Deep within the heart of Christmas is something much more meaningful than Christmas trees, cozy movies, and ugly Christmas sweaters. Deep within is a story that changes absolutely everything.
Jesus was not merely a baby whose birth we celebrate each December 25th. His birth ushered hope into a hopeless world, shining light in the darkness. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, our treasure, and our victory.Jesus was not merely a baby whose birth we celebrate, He ushered hope into a hopeless world, shining light in the darkness. Jesus Christ is Emmanuel, our treasure, and our victory. Click To Tweet
1. Jesus is Emmanuel
Many Christians are well familiar with the word, Emmanuel. Since we were children, many of us have been instilled with the knowledge that Emmanuel means “God with us.” But how often do we take a step back to ponder what this truth really means?
We cannot fully understand Jesus as Emmanuel before we understand God’s holiness. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden by eating of the tree God had forbidden them to eat from, this sin forever tainted their perfection. God banished them from the garden, and thus away from His holy presence (Genesis 3:24).
Many years later, God gave Moses the plans to build a tabernacle, a place that would house God’s very presence. But God’s people were not able to enter the holy of holies, the place where God dwelt. Their sins had shrouded them with a filth they could not wipe away.
They were doomed to eternal separation from God.
But God did not leave us in this state. God sent His Son, clothed in man’s flesh, to dwell among us. Jesus “emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:7).
God, whose power is unimaginable and beauty unfathomable, stepped down from His throne to “save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). God, whose name we have despised and rejected by our sins committed against Him, sent Himself to live the perfect life we could never live, die on the cross, bear our sins, and rise again from the grave, forever conquering sin and death.Emmanuel is not merely a nice word to hang upon our trees. It represents salvation that can only be attained through Christ. It reminds us that we are not alone, and of God’s presence through the ups and downs of life. Click To Tweet
Emmanuel is not merely a nice word to hang upon our trees or adorn our houses with. It represents salvation that can be attained through Jesus Christ. But not only that, it represents God’s continued presence in our lives.
Not only did God dwell among us during His life here on earth, but He lives within each one of His children in the person of the Holy Spirit. Emmanuel means that we are not alone. Emmanuel signifies God’s sustaining presence through the ups and downs of life. When before, our unrighteousness prevented us from fellowship with Christ, God now urges us to draw near to His throne (Hebrews 4:16).
What better news could we ask for this Christmas?
2. Jesus is Your Treasure
It is early in the morning, and everyone can hardly stand to wait another minute. The excitement mounts, parents are awakened, and children’s thoughts are bent toward one thing: presents.
Stores are filled with them. Gadgets we “need” to live better lives, toys that will satisfy our longings, and various other items bombard us with the lie that we can’t live without them.
But also surrounding Christmas are the traditions that many treasure deeply. Setting up a Christmas tree in our living room, sipping hot chocolate, snuggling up and watching Christmas movies, looking at the neighborhood Christmas lights, and spending time with family are several traditions that many enjoy.
Such traditions can become beautiful memories of time spent with loved ones, but how much stake are you putting in traditions for your happiness this Christmas? Is your greatest desire to make this Christmas special through traditions, or to glorify the Christ who came to earth for you?Christmas celebrates Jesus as our treasure, refusing to hold the treasures of this world dearer than Him. Click To Tweet
As someone who loves traditions and the coziness of Christmas, I struggle with this. I have often struggled to focus on what truly matters amid the dazzling distractions that surround me.
Let Christ be magnified this Christmas, as we consider Him our greatest treasure, and our only satisfaction.
3. Jesus is Your Victory
What is a book without the rising action, climax, and resolution? Imagine a story where we only read the beginning as the hero is introduced, and then it simply ends.
What is Christmas without Christ’s life, death, and resurrection?
Christmas is not merely a celebration of Jesus’ birth. If that is all that we knew of the story, there would not be much cause for rejoicing because our sins would still separate us from a holy God.
But praise the Lord that the story does not end here!
He lived a life of sinless perfection on our behalf, and He became sin “who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He died on the cross and took our sins upon Himself, but He did not remain in the grave. He rose from the dead, conquering sin and death. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55 says, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
Because of Jesus, those who are His are born again to a “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). We are no longer slaves to sin, but we are free to live in the victory of Christ and serve Him alone.
More Than a Baby in a Manger
I squirm when I hear others talking about “baby Jesus,” because Christmas is not a baby shower. Christmas celebrates Jesus as Emmanuel, God made flesh to dwell among us and remain with us even now. Christmas celebrates Jesus as our treasure, refusing to hold the treasures of this world dearer than Him. Christmas celebrates Jesus as our victory, when He broke sin’s power over us and saved a people for Himself.
This Christmas, enjoy the excitement of Christmas traditions and celebrations, spending time with family and loved ones. But ultimately, remember what Jesus has done on your behalf, and give Him glory for all His wondrous works.
For He alone is worthy of our praise.