I would say that nominally at least most people understand what Christmas is supposed to be about. I think even the anti-Christian groups understand this concept. If they didn’t they wouldn’t exert so much effort trying to make sure manger scenes aren’t displayed, that we have holiday trees instead of Christmas trees and that we call the holiday anything but Christmas. They’ve got the concept that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and really that is why it is so offensive to them.
However, there is a huge difference between understanding the concept and focusing on the reality. The reality is that Jesus wasn’t just a good man whose birth we celebrate. There are a lot of good men and women whose birth our nation acknowledges. But no matter how good this man or woman was that really is all they were, a man or a woman. That’s not true of Jesus. He wasn’t just a good man, a moral teacher or a religious leader. He was and is God.
In the early parts of his Gospel John goes to great lengths to show that Jesus wasn’t just a normal person. John wants everyone to know that Jesus was and is God. When John wrote this Gospel, he explicitly told us what the purpose this Gospel was.
“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. John 20:30-31 (NKJV) He wanted everyone to believe that Jesus was/is the Son of God. Look at how John describes Jesus in the first few verses of the Gospel of John.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” John 1:1-2 (NKJV) Jesus is eternal and that He is God.
All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” John 1:3 (NKJV) Jesus is the Creator of all there is.
“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 (NKJV) Jesus is the giver of life.
These claims are all very significant because these were things that were only attributed to God. John was unequivocally saying that Jesus is God. It is very common in our day for liberal scholars to say that Jesus never made such claims about Himself. That is utterly false. Jesus most certainly claimed to be God. Not only did Jesus claim to be God those who heard Him make these claims understood that this is what He was saying. Let me show you a few instances of this.
“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father‘?” John 14:9 (NKJV) Jesus said that to see Him was to see God the Father.
“I and My Father are one.” John 10:30 (NKJV) Jesus says He is one with the Father. I love this passage because of the response of those who heard Him make this claim.
“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” John 10:31-33 (NKJV)
In Mark’s Gospel, we read another instance where Jesus claimed to be God. There was a crippled man whose friends wanted to get him to Jesus. However, people were so crowded around Jesus that they couldn’t get to Him. So they tore the roof off of the house and lowered the man down in front of Jesus. Then Jesus said,
“…Son, your sins are forgiven you.” Mark 2:5 (NKJV) To which the religious leaders responded, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Mark 2:7 (NKJV) Jesus response was, “…Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–He said to the paralytic, I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Mark 2:8-11 (NKJV) The man then stood up and walked out proving to the stunned onlookers that Jesus had the power to heal and the authority to forgive sins because He is God.
These are all pretty familiar stories so I doubt any of this is to anyone reading this. My point in this is to help us regain the wonder of Christmas by focusing on just who Jesus is. This is not a day that is set aside to recognize the birth of a regular guy. This is a day set aside to celebrate the fact that God became a man. Christmas is the celebration of an invasion, when God invaded earth.
If I get my eyes off of the hustle and bustle of Christmas time and on what really happened that first Christmas day, how could I not stand in awe? If I focus on who Jesus really is, that He is God, I will certainly regain the wonder of Christmas. What can you do today to focus on the Christ of Christmas?