Isaiah 7:14 Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
We celebrate an absolutely astounding truth during the Christmas season: Immanuel! God is with us! That’s what Christmas is all about – God left His throne and put Himself into the hands of a young girl and her betrothed, becoming dependent, experiencing pain, feeling hunger and thirst, and facing threats to survival, all to share in our human experiences, to make Himself known to us, and to make it possible for Him to live in us and for us to live in Him. As Jesus explained, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:26).
Christmas is also all about redemption. As described in John 1:9, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” Through His coming, Jesus offered His light to us, redeeming us out of the consuming darkness of sin in our hearts. Paul describes it this way: “For God, who said, ‘let light shine out of darkness,’ made His light shine in our hearts” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Christmas is all about expelling the darkness from our hearts and making His light shine in us, so we may become the light of the world. Jesus said of us, “You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14, 16). Of Himself, Jesus said, “I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” (John 12:46).
The light of the star of Bethlehem symbolized the coming of the true light into the world, and following that star, the wise men of the Orient proclaimed Jesus as the one true King and the coming of a different kind of Kingdom. Thus, Christmas is also about the restoration of God’s Kingdom to this world. Jesus said, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21). In other words, with His coming, Jesus brought the Kingdom here. Through His presence in our hearts, which His coming made possible, His Kingdom exists within us. As we allow His light to flow from within us, we usher His Kingdom back into the world.
So, Christmas is all about relationship, redemption, and restoration. It is about the true light coming into our darkened and hardened hearts and bringing His healing, cleansing, and peace, redeeming us and restoring us to relationship with Him. Because the true light, the presence of Christ, is reflected in each of us, His Kingdom exists within us. Now, we shine brightly into this dark world to bring His Kingdom and overcome the darkness. By allowing the light of Christ within us to flow freely from our hearts so that all who see will see His light, we become the star that points to Bethlehem again, and we become the wise who proclaim a new Kingdom and the one true King.
Yes, God is with us. He is here. He is alive. He is in us. Let’s approach our celebration of the advent of Christ with new eyes and a restored heart, filled with joy, gladness, thanksgiving, and praise for what His birth is all about. Thank God this Christmas for His coming, His indwelling presence, His love, His redemption, His Kingdom, and most of all, for Who He is: Immanuel. And that’s what Christmas is all about.