The Big News of Christmas

Immediately after the Wright brothers successfully flew their “flying machine” for the first time, they telegraphed the following message to their sister Katherine:

“We have actually flown 120 feet. Will be home for Christmas.”

Katherine hurried to the editor of the local newspaper and showed him the message. He glanced at it and said,

“How nice. The boys will be home for Christmas.”

He totally missed the “Big News” that man had flown an airplane for the first time in human history! In the same way, it is very easy for us to miss the “Big News” of Christmas. Year-after-year, we hear the story repeated in songs, in plays, in the reading of Scripture and so forth. We’ve heard it so many times that, if we are not careful, our worship during this season can become more of a “going-through-the-motions” kind of thing, rather than a genuine, heartfelt expression of thanks and worship.

Also, this time of year is so filled with so many traditions and activities that it’s easy to become distracted. From multiple gatherings with family and friends; to company Christmas parties; to school plays and parties for elementary children; to parades and caroling and Christmas concerts; to all the decorating; baking; and the all-important shopping, culminating with the greatest of all Christmas traditions—the giving and receiving of gifts—there are many distractions vying for our attention and focus.

Needless to say, the “Big News” of Christmas—the news that the God of Glory; the God of Creation; gave himself for us and to us to be our Savior and redeemer by humbling himself, by taking on a human body; being born of a woman and in a lowly manger in the person of Jesus Christ—can easily be overlooked.

Whatever you do this Christmas season, don’t miss the “Big News” of it all. Take some time for yourself and away from the traditions and the hustle and bustle of it all and dwell intently on the real reason why we celebrate during this wonderful season.

This Sunday at Main Street we will try to do that by focusing on Jesus’ death. I was told earlier this week by more than one person that,

“Jesus never commanded us to remember his birth, only his death.”

The implication of that statement is that it is somehow wrong for us to worship/celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. I don’t believe that is true at all. It is more than appropriate to worship/celebrate the significance of his birth. After all, the Bible records that Jesus received worship at/near the time of his birth (angels, shepherds, wise men). Thus, it is clearly appropriate to do so.

But let us also recognize that every time we worship his death via the Lord’s Supper, we also worship/celebrate his birth. In Luke 22:19, Jesus said, “This is my body (speaking of the bread) given for you.” Jesus’ body, which he received at his birth, was the perfect/sinless body given to us as a perfect sacrifice for our sin. If not for receiving his body, he could not offer it to us as the greatest gift of all—the gift of forgiveness of sin and life eternal (John 3:16).

So, in my view, there is no better time to remember his death than when we celebrate the time of his birth. Always remember it this way: the incarnation and the crucifixion go together. Like a horse and carriage; or love and marriage; you cannot have one without the other.

Merry Christmas!

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