Some people love Christmas. Some people dread Christmas. Some people tolerate Christmas. Perhaps you are someone who cherishes time spent with family and friends. Maybe you are someone who bemoans that same family time. It may be that you are someone who finds herself alone on this day, and the loneliness hurts. Whatever your situation this holiday season, whether it is filled with fond memories and the making of new ones, or whether it stirs up aching sadness of lost loved ones, there is good news for you.
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11)
And that baby, whose birth we remember and celebrate this time each year, came for a very specific purpose.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God. (John 3:16-21)
Who is this Son? He is Love (1 John 4:8), and He was sent out of love. It is quite true, then, to borrow from the title of a recently-released book, that Love came down at Christmas. What does Love look like?
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:9-10)
Jesus Christ embodies love in its purest form (1 Corinthians 13:4-13). When He came down at Christmas, He did so out of love: love for His Father, and love for those He came to save. He then pours out that love into the hearts of believers through the gift of the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5).
What Child is this? Perhaps an even greater question might be: What Love is this? How magnificent and unfathomable it must be, for it reached from Heaven, condescended to earth, lived among sinful man, and willingly died a death deserved by those same sinners. More than that, He offers sure and certain hope to those who will believe in Him: Hope in a love that never fails (cf. Psalm 136), hope in an eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:11-12), hope in His return (Revelation 1:7).
Christmas, then, is a celebration of love no matter what circumstances the season brings to your door. It reminds us that, in a world of darkness, there is Light and Love that transcends this curse-filled existence.
If Christ has saved you, then I pray this Christmas finds you realizing His love afresh. And if you have never known this Love, then I pray that this Christmas will find the love of Christ bringing you to repentance and faith in Him.
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love incarnate, Love divine;
Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token,
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.
(as quoted in Love Came Down at Christmas, Sinclair Ferguson, The Good Book Company: 2018)