Why Christmas?

Why Christmas? Beyond the lights and tinsel, over-the-top front-yard decorations, Santa, gifts, and family celebrations, why do you celebrate Christmas this year? Tradition? Everyone else is doing it? An old and bitter Mark Twain wrote this angry Christmas prayer in 1890, “It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us-the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage-may-eventually be gathered together in heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss-except the inventor of the telephone.” But why Christmas?

The author of Hebrews 2:14-15 answers that question in two parts. First, Jesus Himself, “took part in flesh and blood, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.” Jesus always existed in triune relationship with God the Father and Spirit from before creation, but at the appointed time, God sent His Son Jesus to take part in flesh and blood, to be born of woman. He lived a sinless life and died as a perfect sacrifice for us. His goal was the cross and death, only to conquer death through resurrection. By His death, He destroyed and defeated the devil, who has power over death. And now we can triumphantly say, “Where o death is thy victory, where o death is thy sting?” Jesus disarmed death and the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by conquering them, being nailed to the cross.

Second, He came, “to deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” You will die someday, but what happens afterward? Will you be punished for your sin, suffering God’s wrath in hell for eternity? God’s love in Christ assures you that, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). You do not need to be a slave to the devil, death, or fear. You can only be free from Satan’s power by the forgiveness made possible by Jesus’ death. He removes the wrath and punishment for those who trust in Him and gives you assurance of life in the world to come. Through Christ, you can rejoice and sing, “It is well with my soul” because He has saved you. Are you saved? Are you trusting in Christ as Lord and Savior this Christmas?

Why Christmas? Jesus came to destroy and to deliver. Yes, enjoy the presents, food, and family this season, but rejoice even more that Jesus, Emmanuel, the king of nations and promised Messiah, has come.