Christians worldwide celebrate Christmas as the day Christ was born.
Church productions display the nativity scene, re-enacting the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.
The word 'Christmas' itself is coined from the name Christ which means the anointed and mass which is the celebration of.
Last year, I wrote an article entitled A birthday without the birthday boy? It essentially points out what Christmas has become in the world, with Christmas trees, gift exchange and Santa gaining more attention than Christ, the birthday boy of Christmas.
It's easy to swing from one end of the pendulum to the other when it comes to Christmas. Some celebrate Christmas with all the focus on Christ while rejecting the things with zero reference to Christ. The other extreme celebrate Christmas exclusive of Christ.
The reason for the season
Christ is said to be the reason for the season. If Christ did not come to this world there would be no birth of Christ to celebrate, hence no Christmas.
We often stop at this to justify that Christmas is incomplete without Christ. Thus for those who do not know Christ, Christmas doesn't have any meaning other than just a holiday to commemorate the birth of a religious person.
However, there's a purpose behind the birth of Christ which gives another meaning to Christmas. John chapter 3, verse 16 records, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Christmas is not just a birthday celebration. Christmas is more than the birth of Christ. Christmas is our creator's love for us. Christmas is the Son of God coming to earth to reconcile us to the Father.
We are the real reason for the season!
Christmas is for everyone
Christmas is for every single one of us alive on this earth. Christmas is for us who believe in Christ, but more than that, Christmas is for those who have yet to know God. Romans chapter 3, verses 23–25 says,
Yes, all have sinned; all fall short of God's glorious ideal; yet now God declares us "not guilty" of offending him if we trust in Jesus Christ, who in his kindness freely takes away our sins. For God sent Christ Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to end all God's anger against us. He used Christ's blood and our faith as the means of saving us from his wrath.
Christmas is about God providing a way to come to Him through Jesus who died to redeem us. Christ was born for one reason and that reason was to die on the cross in our place, nullifying our sins.
God's love for us
Christmas is about a love so undeserving that even when we do not meet God's standard of holiness, a bridge is formed by Christ, so we can once again come before God with a clean slate.
The birth of Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of how great God's love is for mankind—that the Son of God would come to earth as the Son of Man with the sole purpose of giving His life for us.
The celebration of Christmas is a celebration of God's intended love for us.
A meaningful birthday
Birthdays are usually all about the birthday boy. However, Christ's birthday was more about us than it was actually about Him.
Last month, I spent my birthday afternoon with another kindergarten mum who happened to share the same birthday.
The recent earthquake in New Zealand led to our local mall being closed for inspection, resulting in the inconvenience of heading downhill for grocery shopping.
As I went to the city for some errands, I decided to buy a cake for this fellow mum who didn't have any plans for her birthday. It was just a simple gesture of love as I thought it would be nice for her to have a cake on her birthday. In return, she invited us over to share the cake and our boys had a fun play date.
I didn't have a fancy birthday or even any gifts but this was perhaps my most meaningful birthday yet—a random act of love and spending time with a new acquaintance.
A purposeful Christmas
As the Christmas season approaches, I have been thinking about ways I can be purposeful in including other people in this birthday celebration of Christ, in the same way I included the fellow mum during my birthday.
Pastor Carl Crouse nicely puts it, "You are the only Bible some people will read, you are the only Jesus some people will see."
Inviting people to church for Christmas is great but if they don't make it, it shouldn't stop us from sharing God's love. We shouldn't merely pursue a one-off invitation without investing in their daily lives.
After all, Christmas isn't just about the day Christ was born—it's about a lifetime of God's love for mankind.
Esther Koh is a stay-at-home mum living in Wellington with her husband and two sons. She loves people and has a passion for helping others find their purpose for living.
Esther Koh's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/esther-koh.html