“My two favorite things about Christmas are giving people presents and just flat out celebrating Christmas,” says Hailey, 9. “I like giving people presents because when they open the present, you always see their face light up with lots of joy. Celebrating Christmas is fun because I know that I’m celebrating Christ’s birth. Look, his name is even in Christmas.”
If we delight in giving others gifts, imagine the joy God experiences when people open the gift of eternal life. That gift can be received by faith alone in Christ alone on Christmas and every day of the year. It’s all because a baby born in Bethlehem fulfilled his destiny to offer himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
As for the name “Christ” in Christmas, many people think that “Christ” is the last name of Jesus. Actually, it’s a title meaning “anointed one.” The English word comes from the Greek word “Christos.” The Hebrew translation is “Messiah.” Christians believe Jesus is the Messiah, or the anointed one, whose coming was foretold by the Hebrew prophets.
“What I like about Christmas is the lights,” says Garrett, 7. “When Jesus was born, there was a light in the sky.”
Everyone is familiar with how the wise men followed the star to Bethlehem, but how many people think of Jesus as the true light who gives light to every person born into the world (John 1:9)? Furthermore, what is the nature of this light?
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life,” (John 8:12). The Apostle John presents Jesus as the eternal Word who became flesh and dwelt among us. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it,” (John 1:4-5).
We have conflict. Jesus is the light of the world and eternal life in human form (John 17:3). Furthermore, Jesus said he would give eternal life to anyone who believes in him (John 3:16). When the light of this truth challenges the darkness of religious tradition or preconceptions about God, something has to give.
“I have to admit that I love the presents, but my favorite part about Christmas is spending time with family,” says Lexie, 11. “During Christmas my family and I like to share Christ’s love with different people.”
This is how the light shines in the darkness. Those who know Jesus as the light of their lives reach out to their friends with words and deeds. Even the most skeptical skeptic has no defense for acts of love, kindness and compassion in the name of Christ.
The Apostle John describes Jesus as being “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). This world is full of harsh people driven by ego, greed and pride. Christians who treat people with the same grace they have received from God discover that they have many opportunities to speak about the love of Christ.
Think about this: Christmas lights shouldn’t be the only lights shining in your neighborhood this year. Let the glorious light of the gospel shine. Tell someone about the greatest gift — God’s only son and his free offer of eternal life.
Memorize this truth: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Ask this question: Have you shined the light of the gospel into anyone’s life this year through your deeds and words?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING