“Christmas is a birthday party,” says Ashley, age 11. “It’s Jesus’ birthday. At my church, we get a big birthday cake for Jesus.”
Ashley, you’ve got it right. Christmas is party time. It’s time to celebrate God’s successful invasion of planet Earth. Yes, “invasion” because the Son of God entered hostile territory. In fact, after Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph took their baby boy and fled to Egypt.
King Herod didn’t like the idea of someone else being called king of the Jews. He ordered that all the male children 2 years old and younger in Bethlehem be killed, but Jesus had already escaped to Egypt.
“I like to wake up on Christmas morning and pray because I know today represents Jesus’ birth,” says Bethany, 9. “I thank God for Jesus and my family.”
How many kids wake up praying on Christmas morning? I’m impressed.
“One thing that Mom and Dad haven’t gotten used to yet is us kids waking them up at 4 a.m. or 3 a.m. to open presents,” says Kendall, 9.
Who needs sleep when there are presents to open? “Christmas means getting clothes and stuff, and trying to wear it all on the first day back to school,” says Grace, 11.
It’s easy to get so caught up in all the fun of Christmas traditions that we forget the reason for the season. Jesus is the Messiah that God promised. Wise men from the East knew this when they brought the Christ child gifts that symbolized his identity and mission.
In the ancient East, a person of lower position always brought a gift when approaching a superior. Gold has long been the precious metal of royalty. Frankincense was one of the spices in the incense burned daily in Israel’s temple. And myrrh was used to anoint the body of Jesus for burial. Many have seen the royalty, deity and death of Jesus in the wise men’s gifts.
“When I look up at the stars, I see a big star, and then it reminds me of Jesus,” says Jed, 7. The wise men followed a star. At the time of Jesus’ birth, spectacular celestial displays were commonly associated with the birth of someone great.
An Old Testament messianic prophecy predicted, “A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17). Jesus called himself “the Bright and Morning Star” and “the Offspring of David” (Revelation 22:16).
The Apostle Peter calls the prophetic testimony concerning Jesus a “light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (II Peter 1:19). We grope in darkness until light from the bright morning star pierces our hearts. “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:4).
“Christmas means a time of giving love and thanks that Jesus was born to die for our sins,” says Ryan (age unknown). “It’s a time where we get together and thank the Lord. It’s also a time to show love to our families and exchange gifts.”
As Ryan stated, “Jesus was born to die for our sins.” This is the essence of the Christmas story. Don’t miss out on God’s greatest gift to us.
Point to ponder: Jesus is God’s greatest gift to the world.
Scripture to remember: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Question to consider: Have you received God’s greatest gift?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING