Home > Devotionals, General Posts > A Night to Remember

A Night to Remember

It’s Christmas Eve, and many “tiny tots” will go to sleep tonight hoping that “Saint Nicholas soon would be there.” I’m not here to rant and rave against Santa—he has his proper place—but Christmas isn’t about getting toys. Christmas isn’t about giving toys, either. Christmas isn’t even about spending time with family, ultimately. All of these things have their place in Christmas: Santa Claus is but a pale shadow and illustration of God; getting and giving presents showcase a generosity that should characterize Christians year round; and Christianity is certainly family-oriented (the family, after all, is the basic unit of society, and the Bible deals with the family in many different passages). But ultimately, Christmas isn’t about any of these things—all these things are (or should be) an offshoot and byproduct of what Christmas is really about: Christ.

Christmas is a celebration of Christ’s birth. Whether he was actually born in late December is irrelevant (there are arguments both for and against this birth date); what matters is that Christ was born, and this is what Christmas primarily celebrates. Consider Galatians 5:4-5.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

Christ was born so that we could receive adoption as sons; an angel puts it this way in Matthew 1:21,

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.

Jesus Christ was born to save His people from their sins—this is what we celebrate at Christmas! We celebrate that Christ was born, yes, but that His birth led to a sinless life and a substitutionary and satisfactory death on the cross, and that on the third day, God rose Him from the grave triumphant. The birth of Christ was an act of God keeping His Word; He had promised the Messiah throughout the Old Testament. Now, at last, in Luke 2, this very Messiah—God in the flesh—is born in a feeding trough in a little town of Bethlehem! This is a cause for rejoicing! If we are so glad to give and receive presents, so much more so should we rejoice and shout and sing at the advent of our King, our Redeemer, our Savior and Lord!

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the registration before Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:1-20)

That is the Christmas story. That is the true meaning of Christmas—Christ, the Son of God, made flesh to dwell among us, to die on the cross to redeem His people, and to be raised the third day for our justification. Christmas is about Christ, His birth, for without His birth, He never would have died nor been raised back to life. And if these things had not happened, no one would be saved. And if you are reading this but do not trust that Christ alone can save you, then you are unsaved. The shepherds were the first missionaries—they went out and told people that they had seen the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of all who believe. To us Christians, this is a cause of rejoicing. To the unsaved, this is a cause of hope—you can do nothing to earn your salvation, you can only trust and place all your confidence in Christ’s death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. If that is your hope tonight, you are saved and can rejoice in this glorious Christmas story. If this is not your hope tonight, I pray that God will open your eyes to Christ’s work of salvation on the cross and that He would bring you to repentance and faith so you would be saved.

God bless, and may you all have a merry Christmas.

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