My family came here from a country that doesn't celebrate Christmas. I know it has to do with the birth of Jesus, but what else can you tell me about it? Most people here don't look on it as a religious holiday, do they?
I can understand your confusion; for many people, Christmas is just a time of fun and gift-giving, and they don’t think of anything beyond that. It’s even become a major holiday in countries with no Christian background, where it’s lost its original meaning.
But there wouldn’t be any Christmas if it weren’t for an event that took place in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire slightly over 2,000 years ago. That event was the birth of Jesus Christ. On that first Christmas, a poor woman named Mary “gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger (or feeding trough), because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
Why is the birth of Jesus so important? The reason (the Bible tells us) is because He was more than a man; He was also God. Think of it: God became a man! He did this so we could know what He is like – and He did it most of all to show us His love. The Bible says, “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
My prayer is that you – and everyone reading this column – will look beyond the shallowness of most Christmas celebrations, and discover instead the greatest event in human history: the coming of Jesus Christ into the world – and into our lives.