“Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
There are those who remind us every year of the “true meaning of Christmas.” They usually want to pull us back from the stress, the busyness or the materialism that snares us during the Christmas season, to focus more on the joy and good will that lay at the heart of Christmas. With all of the pressures from advertisers, workplace expectations and even family demands it is perhaps a needed reminder.
There is nothing more central to the meaning of Christmas than the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas is after all, the celebration of the virgin-born babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger.
Although the humble surroundings would have suggested the lowly position of this child, the event was accompanied with angels proclaiming, “For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” and “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
What did all of this mean? The answer to that question and the whole meaning of Christmas can be summed up in one word “Emmanuel.” God with us. God became man because He wants to be with us and us to be with Him.
For me, one of the greatest joys of being a born-again Christian has always been the joy of having God in my life. I can truly relate to David who wrote in the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”
To have the Lord’s presence in my life means I never have to walk alone. No matter what I face in life I have the Wonderful Counselor for my guide, the Mighty God for my strength, the Everlasting Father for my hope and the Prince of Peace for my comfort. (Isaiah 9:6)
I have received some very thoughtful Christmas gifts in my lifetime, but there are none that compare to the gift of God himself.
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, but even more I would like to share with you the greatest gift you could ever receive. Jesus was born, He died on the cross as the sacrifice for your sins and rose again from the dead. By faith you can receive Him and His salvation. May God be with you this Christmas and forever.
Tom Kline is the pastor of Castlegar Baptist Church.