A Devotional Thought From Matthew’s Gospel
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. Matthew 22:29
The American celebration of Christmas has a variety of expressions: ornamental decorated trees both outdoors and inside; a song about a boy and his drum; dreams of snowy Christmases; a feast of seven fishes; even an imaginary mythical Christmas personage, among them. All good fun.
Now, personally, I like those things, but I know the real story of Christmas so I realize that these fun things are extraneous accretions to an accurate celebration of the actual event that is Christmas, and they are used by some to obscure the historical record of what happened in Bethlehem. If the non-Christian world, society at large, has its way people who don’t know the real story will think Christmas is a fantasy fun time full of festive foods, and freaky, friendly, flying, forest creatures. The message, to those who don’t know the story, in all of this is a message that Jesus gave to some of his ancient opponents on another subject: Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures.
If a person knows what God’s word teaches about the event we call Christmas, he/she/they will know the following realities of the meaning of Christmas:
At Christ’s birth the prophecies of God given in the Bible were being fulfilled;
The unusual star over Bethlehem brought people to the promised Messiah’s birthplace;
The baby in the manger is the savior of the world;
The baby is the Son of God given by God to the world because God loves us;
The Son of God came to save His people, and all people, from their sins;
As many as receive Him as savior become the children of God.
The non-Bible believing world likes to think of elves, colored lights, and the joy of gift giving to family and friends (all good things) and call their form of Christmas magical. The Church, all the Christians of the world, would use the word miracle. We would say if you have to make a choice between the two choose miracle, because that’s what real Christmas is all about. If you’ve got the theology right then you can rightly divide the true from the cultural and enjoy both.
If there were no lights, or trees, or children sharing their wish list with a red suited guy, or lots of fish, or holiday songs, or special homemade candies, or a national holiday, there would still be Christmas because God’s coming into the world, the miracle, is true now and forever. To sum Christmas up in one word, it is Emmanuel. Emmanuel means God with us.