Is Christmas about a baby? A cute, cuddly little one that His mother held in her arms? If so, then why is Christmas offensive to many? Who could be turned off by an adorable baby? Why have schools changed from Christmas break to winter break? Why do people file law suits to stop Christmas celebrations? Why do most Islamic and atheistic governments either ban or strongly condemn Christmas? Because they understand perfectly, that Christmas is not about a baby . . . but a man. Not a fictitious man with a sled and reindeer, but the very real God-Man, who stands with nail printed hands opened wide to all humanity as their Supreme King and Savior.
The ancient Christmas story originates from the Bible and one quote in particular is the reason for Christmas opposition. It comes from Matthew 1:23, “‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”
The Christmas story characters Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the Shepherds, Simeon and Anna all saw baby Jesus. Each person recognized He was not a normal human infant boy. He was different. He was sent from Almighty God in heaven, and born with a divine mission. He was born with the titles of Christ, Savior, Lord, Son of the Most High, Son of God, King and Immanuel. Each person recognized but did not fully understand, the boy was clearly not just human, but deity in human form. And each recognized the baby was not going to fulfill any divine mission, but the God-Man He would grow into . . . would. King Herod, Jesus’ arch enemy when He was two years old, understood this. That is why upon learning about Jesus, Herod made a failed attempt to kill the toddler, to try and prevent Jesus from growing up into a man and challenging Herod’s title as King of the Jews.
Immanuel, God with us, was an offense to Herod and still is to many. The title communicates there is one true God. It means there is a Supreme ruler, a Sovereign King over humankind and the universe. It also implies the King is Judge over all. The idea that God left His home in heaven and came to earth in the form of a man, angers the prideful, immoral and arrogant. “Leave us alone”, they say. “We don’t need you. We have education, science, our own laws, our own morality, and for some, even our own religion.” To them, they scoff at Immanuel, “We don’t want God with us.”
For others though, Immanuel has come as Savior to rescue them from their slavery to sin. He was welcomed and worshipped. Followers believed in Him, repented of their sin and received His gift of forgiveness. They received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and will one day enter into their eternal home in heaven. To them Immanuel is hope, new life and redemption.
Christmas is not about a baby, but the God-Man, Jesus. To some He is an offense, while to others He is hope. What is He to you? This Christmas fix your eyes upon Jesus, the One who died and rose again for you. Today, receive His gift of forgiveness through faith and repentance.
A prayer for you – “Lord God, open our eyes to see Jesus, not as a baby, but the true and living God-Man. The One who came to Save us from our sins and one day judge the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”