Article: The Purpose of Christmas | Jacob Varghese
Sometimes, we all can get so caught up in the fun of Christmas that we forget what it’s all about. We get so involved with presents, food, and lights that Jesus becomes secondary to a season dedicated to his birth! It is difficult to enjoy Christmas when we are too busy to stop and understand the purpose of the celebration. Christmas reminds us of the incredible grace God offers us through his son Jesus. Amidst all the preparations and festivities, we are also invited to reflect on the powerful reality of the Lord’s birth in our world and our individual lives. The birth of Jesus is salvation for mankind. To have the best Christmas, we must make Jesus the centre of our lives. On this occasion, I want to take your attention to two important Bible verses: John 1:14 & John 3:16. John 1:14 says, “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
As part of God’s eternal plan, 2000 plus years ago, God stepped out of heaven and became a man. John completes his introduction of Jesus by proclaiming his humanity amid his divinity. John 1:14 – this verse contains the truth behind the story of the angels, shepherds, wise men and the journey to Bethlehem that first Christmas. It tells us what happened 2000 years ago and what it means today. Without this verse, the rest of the story has no meaning. This verse reveals four great certainties to us. 1. Jesus became human 2. Jesus lived among us 3. Jesus revealed his glory, and 4. Jesus invited us to himself. “The word became flesh” is John’s account of the Christmas story. In his Christmas tale, there is no Joseph, Mary, Bethlehem, manger, stable, shepherds, wise men, star, angels or baby. But this is not any less a Christmas story. Without those features, John is bringing out the Christmas message. The word became flesh- that is the most profound truth of all truth. That is why we celebrate Christmas. Not because of the physical features of a stable, a manger, a star, a young couple, shepherds and wise men. They all participated indeed in the physical and historical features of the birth of Christ. But the real story of Christmas is that the word became flesh.
John 3:16 is the most influential and well-known verse in the Bible, and this is probably one of the first few verses any Christian might have memorised. Why is this so significant? This explains the reason for Christmas. This summarises the Bible in a single sense. It tells us how to settle our eternal destiny in a single verse. It is all about God’s marvellous love. Just look at it and notice a few words in this verse – God, only Son, perish, eternal and life. We understand Jesus came to bring God and man together through his love. He is the bridge between man and God, the son- of Jesus Christ. This verse gives us a glimpse of the four greatest things. 1. The greatest love 2. The greatest sacrifice 3. The greatest offer 4. The greatest gift
What does all of this mean for us this Christmas? The fact that Jesus came made his dwelling among us, he loved us so much that he died on the cross for our sake. If we believe in him, we shall not perish but will have eternal life. Jesus is here, Jesus is real, and he wants to get involved in our life. Jesus identifies with our pain, our loneliness, the hurt of rejection, the sadness of our life, and the scars of mental or physical abuse. Yes, Jesus felt it. He became a man, he understood us, and now Jesus offers grace. In other words, the one gift we all need during this Christmas is eternity which can be found only in Jesus Christ. The gift of salvation! The giver is Jesus Christ. He is the gift you cannot live without. Jesus is the one who met the conditions of God as the penalty for our sins and now offers forgiveness based on his grace.