Christmas

What is the True Meaning of Christmas

By Brittany Rust

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Christmas truly is one of the most wonderful times of the year. For many, there are warm parties, cozy homes, fond traditions to celebrate, and gifts to be shared. It’s a joyous time of celebration. However, sometimes we get lost in the season and forget the reason we celebrate it, to begin with. Among the hustle and bustle, our focus is lost and priorities are misaligned.

Most people can tell you the origins of Christmas—that it’s a remembrance of the birth of Christ. But either that’s the extent of their knowledge or they lose sight of this in the busyness of the holiday. Why do we truly celebrate Christmas? Not Santa Claus, or the Christmas tree, or any other of the various traditions wrapped up into Christmas. Why do we celebrate this occasion—what is its true meaning?

Christmas is a time when we remember the birth of Jesus. When God became flesh and lived among us on Earth.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
— Isaiah 9:6-7 (ESV)

For thousands of years mankind waited for the coming of Christ; they longed for their King to arrive and free them from oppression. The Old Testament is full of prophecies, including this one from Isaiah 9. The Bible is full of Scripture pointing directly to the One who would save mankind from their sins. When Isaiah described His coming, he described His coming as an infant. But this child would grow and establish a Kingdom of righteousness forevermore. When we celebrate Christmas, we are celebrating the moment in history when prophecy was fulfilled. God came to be with us.

But it was so much more than a birth. It was hope. It was cause for celebration.

Because when Jesus came, he also left us with the gift of salvation. His birth is significant because of His death. For thirty-three years Jesus lived a life free from sin so that He could be the perfect sacrificial lamb for the atonement of our sins. On Calvary, Christ paid the price and overcame death so that we could have victory over sin and condemnation. So, when that precious baby was born and placed in the manger, it wasn’t just another birth. It was the beginning of God’s redemptive plan for humanity. An act He didn’t have to take part in but He chose to out of love.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
— Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)

We remember the birth of Christ on Christmas because it’s a celebration of when God entered this world.

This very act of humility and his choice to die on the cross is cause for bowed knees and lifted hands. I know the busyness of the season can cause time to fly and before we know it, the holiday has passed and we have forgotten to celebrate why we are celebrating it in the first place. But don’t get sidetracked—get perspective. Choose reverence and give honor where honor is due.

Take time this holiday season to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by glorifying the One who gave it all. A child was born in humble circumstances and his sacrificial death reflected the same, however, both were significant for humanity. Without the death of Christ, salvation isn’t possible. So without His birth, neither is it possible. Jesus coming to Earth that night changed everything and it’s a moment we should celebrate with all our hearts.

Certainly, enjoy the parties and food and gifts, but don’t forget to point your heart, family, and those around you to Christmas' true meaning: Christ came with a plan for our redemption.


This article was originally written for and posted on Crosswalk.

A Celebration of Advent With Your Family

By Brittany Rust

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year when we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It's more than twinkling lights, beautifully wrapped gifts, and cozy homes filled with parties. It's so much more than what we've made it over the years. At the heart of Christmas is the celebration of Christ's coming to Earth more than 2,000 years ago.

Advent is a time when this focus is placed back at the center of the season. The word, in fact, means "coming." It's the celebration of the coming of Christ centuries ago and the anticipation of the coming of Christ yet to be.

Advent takes place the 4 Sundays leading to Christmas with the first 2 Sundays focusing on his arrival already made and the last 2 Sundays focusing on his arrival to come. I can't think of a better way to embrace Christmas and prepare our hearts to glorify Jesus before anything else than taking this Advent journey together.

Advent begins in 2018 on Sunday, December 2nd which means it’s coming soon. For my family, this is a new tradition I am eager to adopt! To build into our holiday celebration. If it’s new to you and you’re unsure of how to incorporate it into your tradition, or even why you should, keep reading!

Advent can be celebrated in many different ways. There’s the four Sunday approach, or over the course of 25 days leading to Christmas. There’s the candles or the calendar. But let’s jump more into the why before the how.

Christmas can be such a busy time of the year and if we aren’t careful, we can easily lose perspective of what the season really is all about. Christmas becomes the parties, concerts, and presents instead of remembering the birth of our Savior. Advent helps bring the holidays back into perspective; its celebration narrows in on Christ. It’s a beautiful form of worship for the family.

Now that you know the why, you may wonder about the how. Although traditions vary, here are a few ideas to get you going. Of course, feel free to peruse the internet for more ideas!

  1. Devotionals: There are many devotionals out there that will lead your family in Scripture readings focused on the coming of Christ. Some may be shorter and shared across 4 Sunday’s and some may be everyday. Here’s a free one from Lifeway that includes activities to engage the children!

  2. Advent Wreath and/or Candles: This is a more traditional form of celebrating Advent and it revolves around lighting 4 candles—one each Sunday leading to Christmas. This can be an intimate way of remembering Christ. Wreaths and candles are easy to find and by singing a song or praying together while lighting the candle, it makes the moment honoring. Just be sure you do purple candles for week 1, 2, and 4. And a pink candle on the 3rd week.

  3. Advent Calendar: This is a personal favorite of mine because it’s both a fun way to celebrate with kids and a great way to get into Scripture. Calendars are easy to find and come in a variety of styles like a house or Christmas tree. The idea is that on each day (some are 24 days and some are 25), a door is opened and inside is a little gift for the children. I like to place a piece of chocolate and a Bible verse about Jesus in each. This builds an excitement in the children’s heart leading up to Christmas (as we should all eagerly anticipate the second coming!) and sets our focus with Scripture.

This doesn’t include all the options of celebrating Advent but I do hope it provides some encouragement and inspiration for your holiday season. Whether you embrace the holiday or not, remember to keep your focus on Christ and celebrate his coming this season!

If you do celebrate Advent, we’d love to know how! Leave a comment below.