What Happened on Christmas and Why it Matters
By Mike Chaffin
Matthew 1:18-25: 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means "God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
I want my grandson to know why we celebrate Christmas so today I asked him if he knew what Christmas was all about. He's five and I hoped for better, but half expected the answer I got. He gave me the American Express edition. "Christmas”, he said, "is about getting presents, putting up a Christmas tree and decorating it and going to the mall and seeing Santa Claus.” "Yes, and no,” I told him. "The real meaning of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's His birthday! Those things we do are part of the how we celebrate, but they aren't the reason for Christmas.”
Jesus is our savior. In fact the reason the Angel instructed Joseph to call God come to earth, Jesus, is because it means, "the Lord saves.” He came to earth to show us how to live a holy life. He came to live as an example for us. He came to save his people from their sins.
The Bible passage above tells us Joseph was a righteous man, faithful to the law. He was about to divorce Mary when an Angel appeared to him in a dream. Joseph's focus was on obeying God so he did as God instructed. There is a praise song that sings in one stanza, "It's all about you, Jesus”. In another stanza we sing, "You are the center of my focus.” Joseph was focused on righteousness and on doing as God asked no matter the social implications of the day. He knew in the end, it is all about God, and what He desires.
This Christmas season I want to remember to keep Jesus in the center of my focus. I want to be continually reminded that it is indeed all about Him. Christmas has become about decorating a tree, exchanging presents and going to the mall to see Santa. That has become part of our how. But as we go through the season, let's all try to keep those things in our periphery vision as we stay focused on Jesus while we do them. He is the why. I don't want to rush through the season but savor the gift God gave us on Christmas morning, a sacrificial lamb so that our sins might be forgiven. That's why it matters.