Why we celebrate Christmas has long been a question that plays on my mind each year, this dates to my early teens. However, before diving too deep into the topic, I will provide a little backdrop on my early years.
I was born and raised in East London, a place called Leytonstone. If you are wondering, Leytonstone, what? Please worry not; I will have you know this is also the birthplace of notable individuals.
Sir Alfred Hitchcock was born on 13 August 1899 at number 517 High Road Leytonstone. If his passing in 1980 meant that you were not familiar with him, please allow me to introduce Jonathan Ross. He was born in St Pancras but most impotently raised in Leytonstone from an early age. If you think I am clutching at straws, then ladies and gentlemen, please be upstanding for David Beckham. I am guessing I need not explain who this guy is? Right?
Back to why we celebrate Christmas, two years after my birth, my parents sent both my sister and me to Ghana for cultural shock therapy and language learning. It was in Ghana that I found religion. Growing up, religion was always around us, and we understood the meaning of Christmas.
After 8 years of cultural shaping and a newly acquired language, my sister and I returned to the UK. I was no longer a 2-year-old but a 10-year-old getting ready for my teenage escapades. Around these years, I noticed that the celebration of Christmas was different. The religious fundamentals experienced in Ghana had been replaced with commercial gifts originated Christmas. The moral feature I noticed about both experiences was family being central to the celebrations.
I am now a blessed papa of 3 healthy kids who celebrate Christmas with gifts in mind. However, I am often left wondering if I need to send them to Ghana for 8 years to gain the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas? However, as faith would have it, my hypocritical self would be motivated to write this blog insight, not by some divine intervention but by a gift I received for Christmas (next time I think to insult ‘father gifts’ I should think again).
I was given a gift of a tiny little booklet called “Why Are We Celebrating Christmas” by Roger Carswell. This is a perfect booklet that lays out 6 insights into why we celebrate Christmas. I would highly recommend it, blow I will highlight these 6 points he identified.
So why Celebrate Christmas?
For any Christian, Christmas day is one of the most important events; it tells the story of Jesus Christ’s birth. The birth of Jesus holds a special meaning, in that Jesus overcame to deliver us. He was sent by Father God to achieve the plan for our deliverance. The birth of Jesus demonstrates the extent of his love and the willingness to sacrifice on our behalf.
1 Jesus and History
Long before Jesus was born, Matthew’s Gospel 1:1-17 showed the genealogy, which verifies that Jesus comes from the seed of Abraham and belongs to the house of David, making him their heir.
Being the “son of Abraham” and the “son of David” means he is in the lineage of two of the most significant figures in biblical history.
2 Jesus and Mystery
Mary and Joseph had an agreement in place where they would marry. However, before they could marry or engage in sexual union with each other, Mary was pregnant with a baby.
This is Mary, the unmarried virgin with an immaculate conception. Joseph naturally, when he became aware of such news, which under normal circumstance would have far-reaching consequences, was concerned but took time to reflect on it.
Strangely as this may be, there were many prophecies in the Bible saying this would happen. So, to alleviate their fears, angel Gabriel was sent to deliver the message that Mary would conceive a Son, to be named Jesus.
3 Jesus and Prophecy
The Bible provides us with the story of God’s work. When it comes to humanity, the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus are the most significant in history. The story of Jesus is littered through Bible, with prophecies of his arrival found throughout the Old Testament.
Prophets went to great lengths to describe the Messiah’s life, death, and victorious resurrection.
“For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Jesus fulfilled these prophecies in such accurate detail, and till now, there can be no doubt that he was that promised Messiah. Accurate studying these prophecies in the scriptures allows us to learn many important facts about the Messiah, such as who the Messiah is, when he would come, the season for his return, and what he will do when he comes again. Only Jesus had had his life inscribed before they existed.
4 Jesus and Deity
The Bible asserts that Jesus Christ is equal to and identical with God, performing works that only God can do [deity – the rank or essential nature of a God]. As the Son, he is distinct from the Father; he is of identical being with him and the Holy Spirit.
The Bible also described Jesus as eternal, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and immutable. It attributes the characteristics of deity to Jesus Christ.
The names of God are often applied to Jesus. He is called “the Mighty God, The Everlasting Father” and “Immanuel” (meaning “God with us”) Elsewhere, Jesus is called “The Lord (Jehovah) our Righteousness,” “God” and “Son of God.”
5 Jesus and Humanity
All modern Christians share the same view that Jesus was a true man, bone, and flesh, made the same way we are. Like all humans, he got hungry, thirsty, tired. Like us, he learned obedience just as we do; scripture shows us this.
He felt hurt, indicated by when his disciples were unfaithful, an act which went straight to his heart. When people sinned, it brought him to tears. Nevertheless, he laughed whilst loving the company of others. He experienced the usual agony which any individual in position would on the cross.
It was indispensable that Jesus took on human flesh to redeem all that had been lost. Anything less would have failed to achieve God’s purpose of redemption.
6 Jesus and Destiny
Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead; his most outstanding achievement was sacrificing and taking away our sins by his compassion, achieved by his death on the cross.
Astonishingly, one man’s birth can have such an impact on all those that live and believe. For this reason, I genuinely believe we should never lose sight of why we celebrate Christmas. I always make a note of explaining and reminding my kids of this fact.
What impact and what destiny!