Families all over the world have Christmas traditions. For many Christians, it’s the only time they go to church, unless they also go on Easter.
We go to Christmas Eve services, light candles, and sing carols. We sing “Mary Did You Know” and “Joy to the World,” and we have manger scenes. It’s all good. It’s part of the spiritual message and part of church history. It’s real.
But I’m still moved to ask, why do we do all this? For example, why do we have manger scenes? Is a manger scene just something you put in your yard or on your stage when you do your Christmas Eve production? Or do you really think about what it means?
Do we really understand the message?
We’re singing “Joy to the World,” but why are we joyful? That Jesus came and died?
Well, that’s part of the gospel, but there’s more to it than that. Jesus wasn’t born just to die. He was born to bring us good news! The gospel started with His birth on December 25th — if that’s the actual date — and we’re still living it. Living in the gospel’s truth! That’s the joy that the world needs to know.
When I sit and carefully examine the Christian life of discipleship, I see the Christmas message in a whole new light. The birth of Christ was a significant moment in history. It was the day that God’s redemption began its transformation of everything in creation. Christmas day — the day the Good News was born into the world — is the day that God started discipling people. Christmas day is the day our new life began.
At last, we can fully understand the concept of life — in all its glory!
This understanding is pure joy! We proclaim “Joy to the World,” because now we understand why we have life. We don’t live to judge or be judged. We live to love and be loved!
Christmas is when it all started. Christmas is when it all happened. Two thousand years ago, or a little more than that, this good news came into the world. This man Jesus came down from heaven to walk this earth.
He walked with us. He answered all our questions and fulfilled all of our thoughts. Now we have a reason to live. Now we know why we live. Now we know how to bring joy. Now we know that we are are loved unconditionally. That frees us to do the same.
This is the joy we proclaim. So let’s sing “Joy to the World” this year, and let’s bring it! Let’s bring joy!