Published December 8, 2015

Paul's Epistle
"Christmas Is About..."

What is Christmas really all about?

That's a pretty fundamental question — especially worthy of consideration this time of the year. "It's about the birth of Christ," would be the most common response. And that's true, it is. But perhaps we don't always give the question the depth of attention and consideration it deserves. Or perhaps its true meaning gets buried in the busyness and distractions of the season.

A song the Old Paths recorded on their Christmas CD a few years ago keeps coming to mind as the best answer to the question. With the permission of the songwriter, P. J. Heimermann, here's what the song says in the first verse about what Christmas is not...

     It's not just about the manger where the Baby lay,
     It's not all about the angels who sang for Him that day.
     It's not just about the shepherds or the bright and shining star.
     Oh, it's not all about the wise men who traveled from afar...

All of those things are basic parts of the Christmas story. And they're the things most of us have heard about in church since, well, as long as we can remember. But there's more...

     It's not just about the presents underneath the tree.
     It's not all about the feeling the season brings to me.
     It's not just about coming home to be with those you love.
     It's not all about the beauty in the snow I'm dreaming of...

That's the societal side of the Christmas celebration. And, undoubtedly, those things contribute greatly to what we've come to know and feel around the Christmas season.

But there's a much bigger meaning to Christmas. Yes, it's when Christ came to earth in the flesh, God with us – Emmanuel. But His coming was not just for a visit. He came for a very specific reason. It was the implementation of a most significant part of God's plan to redeem the human race, through the Lord's incarnation. But Jesus' birth was just the beginning. He came so that He could die. It was how the price could be paid sacrificially for our sins. Jesus was the only one ever born with the express reason of purposefully dying.

     The beginning of the story is wonderful and great.
     But it's the ending that can save you and that's why we celebrate.

That's it! That's why we celebrate Christmas! Here's how the song's chorus says what Christmas is really all about...

     It's about the Cross. It's about my sin.
     It's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again.
     It's about God's love, nailed to a tree.
     It's about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should have been me.
     It's about the stone that was rolled away,
     So that you and I could have real life some day.
     It's about the Cross

The Lord's birth and His death cannot be separated. His incarnation, His birth made His death possible, and it was His sacrificial death on the Cross that made possible our salvation.

Celebrate the Lord's birth this Christmas season. But remember that it's part of a much bigger story – a story that ends at the Cross. It's a story that tells how and why "you and I could have real life some day."

Christmas?  It's about the Cross.

- Paul

1. 1st verse of "It's About The Cross," lyrics and music by P. J. Heimermann, Fun Attic Music ASCAP, used by permission of P. J. Heimermann.
2. Ibid, 2nd verse.
3. Ibid, song bridge.
4. Ibid, concluding chorus.

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