A famous American politician said a few weeks ago that Christmas is not about Jesus, God’s gift of a Saviour to sinners. Christmas, he said, is about showing compassion; and that even those who don’t believe there is a God can enjoy this meaning of Christmas (here).
There’s controversy over what Santa’s skin color is and why Jesus is always portrayed as white instead of oriental or black, Muslim or Hindu. A judge orders the permanent removal of the Mount Soledad Cross at Christmastime. Songs which speak of Christ or the newborn Babe must be re-written so as to not trouble non-Christians. Nativity scenes are forbidden by law. It’s offensive to use the word “Christmas” any longer because one-third of Americans don’t believe Christmas is a religious holiday.
When the angelic host appeared before the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem that night so long ago, their message wasn’t one of showing compassion one person to another. They didn’t sing about the social justice of feeding the hungry. Their proclamation wasn’t about trying to sign up our family members to a new healthcare program.
Read the message of the Christmas angels:
Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-12).
Then the darkened sky of man’s fallen existence burst with Heaven’s light and a countless number of God’s messengers shouted out the first carol of Christmas: And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” (Luke 2:14).
This, my dear reader, is the meaning of Christmas. Here rings out the praise of the angels and from their Christmas hymn we learn Heaven’s ultimate message behind the season: God is worthy of glory! A Baby, yes. God with man, yes. Salvation, yes. But even these fall under the awesome shadow of God’s glory.