The Essential Message of Christmas
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ ” —Matthew 1:23
At this time of the year, we say, “Merry Christmas.” Some, who prefer to ignore the essential message of Christmas, are offended when we greet them with a “Merry Christmas.” They might prefer that we greet them with the generic “Happy Holidays” which enables them to avoid recognition that the “holiday” has nothing to do with the birth of the Savior. In their thinking, the holiday is one of good cheer, partying, and giving and receiving of gifts, period.
The essential message that God has sent His Son into the world to save the world is ignored when Christmas is reduced to a season which misses the whole reason for the celebration.
This year, 2020 Christmas, for many people is a world of difference than any other Christmas anyone has ever experienced. Whether they celebrate the birth of the Savior, or whether the celebration is all “me” centered.
So many families have been devastated by the COVID 19 virus. Family Christmas celebrations and get-togethers will be different this year. Some will have no desire to celebrate. Others will question how we can celebrate the coming of a Savior when everything around us seems to indicate that the Savior has not come for our saving.
And even with a 9 month pandemic looming over us, Christmas isn’t always a happy time for everyone. For someone who has lost their job, this is not the most wonderful time of the year, because so much emphasis is placed on a merry Christmas being a materialistic one.
There are also those who have lost loved ones. The things that once made them happy at this time of year now cause sadness, loneliness and despair. Those happy times have become times of memories, and an acknowledgement that those times are gone forever. And so, Christmas becomes a difficult time for some.
We all know people who need encouragement at this time of year. While it is nice top gift them with a present, what they really need, and want, is to know His Christmas Presence. They need to be reminded of what this season is all about. They need to know that the celebration is not about things. It is not about giving and receiving of presents.
These things have their place and we should engage in that part of Christmas. But we must remember the essential message of Christmas. That message is simply this: “Immanuel, God is with us!
And for the hurting person, the lonely person, the sorrowing person, this is the time of year to bring the gift of encouragement to them and say, “The message of Christmas is: God will be with you. God will help you. God will strengthen you.”
So amid all the hustle and bustle of the secular emphasis of Christmas, take time to look for opportunities to introduce the love of God during this season. This is a season of great opportunity for you to bring encouragement to someone who is struggling. Who needs your encouragement today? Who among your family, friends, and co-workers needs to know the essential message of Christmas?
“… The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” Luke 2:10-11.
Gary K. Fair
14 December 2020