After reading a sign yesterday, Sophie asked me:
What does it mean to put Christ back in Christmas?
We briefly discussed the confusion of X in the ABCs and X in Greek etc.(that’s as far as my Greek goes) and how folks can get worked up without asking questions of origin and meaning. We also talked about how the great traditions of lights, gifts and trees can distract us from true meaning of what/Who we are celebrating.
This morning I got to thinking. It truly is one thing to fight for Christ’s name to be in Christmas and to remember that Jesus is reason for the season, but it is another thing to really contemplate why and how Jesus is the reason for the season.
What does it mean to have Christ in Christmas?
I’ve been reading through Calvin’s Institutes to see with my own eyes what this guy has to say about our great need for a savior. I have been passionately moved by his razor sharp focus on the benevolence of God the Father by giving us Jesus and so much more in and through Him. This Advent season, unplanned, but happily received, I have been tracking through the incarnation of Christ.
So, again, What does it mean to have Christ in Christmas?
“…our iniquities, like a cloud cast between us and him, had completely estranged us from the Kingdom of Heaven [Isa.59:2], no man, unless he belonged to God, could serve as intermediary to restore peace.
But who might reach to him? Any one of Adam’s children? No, like their father, all of them were terrified at the sight of God [ Gen. 3:8]. One of the angels? They also had need of a head, through whose bond they might cleave firmly and undividedly to their God [Eph. 1:22; Col. 2:10].
The situation would surely have been hopeless had the very majesty of God not descended to us, since it was not in our power to ascend to him. Hence, it was necessary for the Son of God to become for us “Immanuel, that is, God with us” [Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23…
Who could have done this had not the selfsame Son of God become the Son of man, and had not so taken what was ours as to impart what was his to us, and to make what was his by nature ours by grace?…
Ungrudgingly he took our nature upon himself to impart to us what was his, and to become both Son of God and Son of man in common with us. …
For the same reason it was also imperative that he who was to become our Redeemer be true God and true man. It was his task to swallow up death. Who but the Life could do this? It was his task to conquer sin. Who but very Righteousness could do this? It was his task to rout the powers of world and air. Who but a power higher than world and air could do this? Now where does life or righteousness, or lordship and authority of heaven lie but with God alone?
Therefore our most merciful God, when he willed that we be redeemed, made himself our Redeemer in the person of his only-begotton Son [Rom. 5:8].” John Calvin 2.12.1-2 (parts)
Putting Christ in Christmas is seeing, loving and believing in Christ our Savior. Our love for Jesus will overflow into the lives of others as we see how His amazing incarnational love came to us.
Question for us: How are we “putting Christ in Christmas?” individually and corporately? Demanding rights or following the example of our savior for the sake of our neighbor? May the gospel go forth, not just because it wins in the end, but because it wins men and women now.
What Does it Mean to have Christ in Christmas?