The Meaning of Christmas

Title: The Meaning of Christmas

Bible Book: Luke 2 : 16-17

Author: Preston A. Taylor

Subject: Christmas, Meaning of; Jesus, Birth of



We know the Christmas Season has burst in upon us when we see houses decorated, Christmas trees glowing with lights, and shoppers filling stores. Also, streets and highways are clogged with traffic and people run and rush. The sights and sounds of Christmas surround us.

And yet, there’s more to Christmas than a general celebration. This season reminds us of God’s gift of His Son as Savior and Lord. We may take the word “Christmas” and use the nine letters of this word to have a good interpretation of this season. Christmas has rich meaning.

I. C - Christ

Christmas Means Christ

The first letter in this word is “C” which reminds us of the Christ child. He is God’s anointed. That’s what “Christ” means, “the anointed one.” He’s the Messiah. The word Christ appears about 300 times in the New Testament.

Hebrews 1:9 says that Jesus is the One “anointed with the oil of gladness” above all others. When Christ began his ministry in Nazareth, He opened the Scriptures to Isaiah and read the words that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…He has anointed me to preach the gospel…to everyone” (Luke 4:16-17).

The official name of Jesus is “The Christ” or “The anointed one.” Military leaders and kings and priests had anointing ceremonies. But God anointed Jesus as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Thus the letter “C” in Christmas speaks of Christ. Let’s always remember and never that Christmas begins with Christ.

II. H - Holiness

Christmas speaks of Holiness

The second letter in Christmas is “H” which reminds us of Christ’s holiness. In Luke 1:35 Gabriel announced to Mary that “the holy thing that is born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

Jesus was holy in thought, word, and deed. Simon Peter wrote that Jesus never sinned nor was any deception found in His mouth (1 Peter 2:22). The apostles lived with Jesus for three years. They never gave one report of any false move on the part of Jesus. They knew that Christ lived a perfect life.

Everyone sins. Adam and Eve sinned. Noah sinned by becoming drunk after the Flood and bringing shame upon himself and his family. Abraham sinned by telling two times that Sarah was his sister. Moses sinned through anger as he struck the Rock. David sinned and so did Simon Peter and Paul and all the rest of humanity. But Jesus never did one wrong. He is “the holy one of God.”

III. R - Rejoicing

Christmas Means Rejoicing

The third letter of Christmas may remind us of “the joy of the Lord.” When Christ was born in Bethlehem, angels brought the good news. The N.T. states “Behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.” The reason for rejoicing is that we have a Redeemer.

All the religions of the world claim founders or great teachers and philosophers. They have their “systems of religion,” but none except Christians have the Redeemer. The Hindus wash in the Ganges River. Muslims pray five times a day and try to make a trip to Mecca. Other religious groups follow certain teachings, but none have a Redeemer who puts rejoicing in the heart.

We know the story of Zaccheus. Jesus saw him in the city of Jericho as that “wee little man” had climbed up into a sycamore tree. He came down from that tree and Jesus spent time in his home that day. Zaccheus found real joy in Christ’s presence. That’s where we can find lasting joy, too.

Charles Dickens (d. 1870) is remembered as one of England’s great writers. “The Christmas Carol” is the best known of that novelist’s writings. Ebenezer Scrooge is the main character in that story. Scrooge never enjoyed life. When Christmas time came around the man remained a “sour old man.” He fussed at everyone. Even the dogs on the streets of London stayed away from Scrooge.

One day a handicapped boy by the name of Tiny Tim came into Scrooge’s life. When Tiny Tim found a home with Scrooge, the old man changed. He began to dance through the streets of London. All the negative attitudes left Scrooge. He found real meaning in Christmas. The report was that his “conversion to joy” did more good for London than all the sermons ever preached in the city.

God wants this season to be one of joy for us, too. The Savior is born. The angels announced the good news that puts a “song in our hearts.” We can be joyful now that Christ has come.

IV. I - Iniquity

Christmas Reveals Iniquity

The letter “I” in Christmas reminds us that sin is in the world. When Christ was born in Bethlehem, Herod wanted to kill Jesus. He didn’t want a “rival king.” Herod sent soldiers to Bethlehem with orders to kill all boy babies under two years of age. Jeremiah had written about that event, stating that weeping would take place at the time of the coming of Jesus (Matthew 2:17-18).

The “world” still hates Christ and His cause. Various groups on every continent want to exterminate Christians and the message of the Bible - - especially the truth of salvation on through Jesus. Persecution may increase where it’s never been known before. The unbelieving world hates Christ. In many places “organized religion” does not want to tolerate Jesus. Christians need to be prepared to confront evil attacks until Jesus comes again when He will put down the evil forces that are anti-God.

V. S - Star

Christmas Means Star

The next letter in Christmas is “S.” That letter may remind us of the “three wise men” from the east who said, “We have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him” (Matthew 2:2). We don’t know how many wise men made up the group, but they carried three presents to Jesus. They followed the star until it came and stood over the place where Jesus lay (Matthew 2:9).

Chapter 24:17 in the book of Numbers states that a “star would arise out of Jacob.” That “star” was to be Jesus. In Revelation 22:16 Jesus identifies Himself as “the root and offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”

Jesus wants to be the “Star” in the life of every person. We have selected our own “stars.” However, we make the right choice when Jesus is “Star of our lives.”

VI. T - Tree

Christmas Means a Tree

We have Christmas trees in many places. But the “T” in Christmas stands for “the tree upon which Jesus died.” Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:24 about Jesus “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree.”

The people who crucified Jesus made a cross from a tree upon which they placed Jesus. The word “cross” appears 20 times in the New Testament. The word crucified is given 50 times in the N.T. These references point to the truth that Jesus gave His life for us. He died as our substitute as He shed His own blood for our redemption in order that our sin debt could be paid.

The book of Deuteronomy 21:23 states that “the one who hangs on a tree is accursed of God.” Jesus became our “sin debt.” He took God’s curse upon Himself in order that we might be free. All our sins have been paid for by Jesus. Do we understand what the cross meant for Jesus and what it now means for us? The cross made from a tree became the instrument of Christ’s death and the instrument that God used to give us life everlasting. We can rightfully sing about “The Old Rugged Cross, the Emblem of suffering and shame.” What a message for sin-ridden man we find in the cross of Jesus.

VII. M- Manger

Christmas Means Manger

The shepherds found Jesus “lying in a manger.” That place was the stall for animals. Men put hay and grain in the manger or trough for the animals. Mary and Joseph found a “hay-filled manger” where they could place Christ.

Flavian wrote in 404 A.D. that if an angel had descended from heaven to become a fly or if the sun could become an atom that those events would not equal the descent of Jesus who stepped out of eternity into time to become a man.

Paul felt overwhelmed as he thought of the “incarnation of Jesus.” He wrote in Philippians 2 that Jesus “laid aside His robes of royalty” and became a man. John wrote about that descent of Jesus in chapter one of his gospel. Christ came heaven to the lowest parts of the earth so that we might have a Redeemer.

After the work of redemption had been completed, Christ returned to “the glory of His father.” In John 17 Jesus prayed that His followers might behold something of the glory which He had with God back in eternity. Jesus surrendered that outward display of His eternal glory for a period of thirty three years in order that the Manger Scene might become a reality for us.

VIII. A - Adoration

Christmas Means Adoration

The letter “A” in Christmas should remind us that we worship Jesus. Hebrews 1:6 states, “And let all the angels worship Him.” Jesus was not an angel, but the Eternal Son of God. Angels and shepherds bowed before Jesus. The wise man from the east bowed and worshipped Christ. The apostles worshipped Jesus (Luke 24:52).

When Christ performed His miracles, many worshipped Him. After the resurrection of Jesus, Thomas fell at the feet of Jesus, saying, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Philippians 2 quotes a passage from Isaiah that states that “every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” We worship Jesus.

IX. S - Salvation

Christmas Means Salvation

The “S” in Christmas reminds us of the Savior who gives us salvation. Matthew 1:23 states that the Name of Jesus is given to the Son of God because He saves His people from their sins. Jesus is the name for “Joshua” which means savior or salvation. The name of Jesus is given about 900 times in the N.T. The Savior is available for everyone who will trust Him.

A poet wrote, “I know of a land that is sunk in shame, of souls that faint and tire; but I know a Name, a Name, a Name that can set that land on fire. That name is Jesus.” Jesus means salvation. Christmas can have ever-lasting meaning for everyone. Christ gives a new life for all who repent and receive Him.

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