Whether this new birth is a little girl or a little boy there is much to celebrate. Hearts get filled up with some pretty intense new-found love, a love that just seems to come out of nowhere. The feelings can become overwhelming-- happiness, pride and joy.
Along with this new love comes an incredible sense of immediate responsibility. This new little creation is totally helpless, and she is letting me know it. Be the child a girl or boy, there rises up a profound sense from within that says, “I need to protect them, provide for their needs, nurture them, watch over them, guide them and do everything I can to make sure they have the best chance to have a good life.”
The list seems endless…and it is. We celebrate birthdays everywhere, every day of the year. Each celebration is special, deeply personal and filled with warm hearts overflowing with affection.
There is one person’s birthday, however, that is celebrated every year by millions of people around the world. For people familiar with Christianity, it isn’t hard to guess who's birthday that might be. It is the birth of Jesus Christ! So why do we celebrate His birth? Why do we celebrate Christmas?
We celebrate the birth of Jesus because that was when God left Heaven and came to Earth to be born of a woman. Jesus would become fully human and continue to be, from all eternity, fully God.
It was an appointed time by God when He put into place the fulfillment of a promise. It was God’s promise (Genesis 3:15) to Adam and Eve that put into place a master plan to redeem them and the fallen humanity who were to come, a humanity that chose to turn our backs on friendship with God.
So it was because we acquired a sin nature that all humanity left to itself would not be able to rescue itself from the judgement of God’s Holy Righteousness. The cost of our mistake was eternal death and separation from God.
The master plan to rescue His creation, I believe, may be the reason God started His creation in the first place. For the Christian, we may more fully know when we step into His glorious presence.
The Scripture says in 1 John 4:8 that, “…God is love”. Those words are not only absorbing and intriguing; the depth of those three words seem to carry with them, to this writer, the deeply motivating purpose of God for why we are, and why we are here.
Would not God want to express the very eternal essence of who He is and therefore decide to bring this, His creation, into being? Along side the many powerful attributes of God, we also discover God has feelings, and those feelings of love wanted to be poured out on His creation.
The Scripture says in John 3:16,17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
God wants to fellowship, to be in harmony and communion with you and me, both now and for all eternity. God wants to restore us to that intimate friendship that existed before the fall in the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 1:26,27 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them."
Part of that image that is a part of God is the ability to make one’s own decisions for one’s self. The ability to say, “yes” or “no,” to be a friend with Him. A manufactured or forced love is not love at all. God would be looking from His heart for those who want to know God from their heart.
Everything about God is pure and good and Holy. Everything about God’s love comes from God’s heart. When we decided to go away from Him and break fellowship with Him, He was hurt and could not have the same communion with man.
We make a decision from our heart. It is out of our heart and how we decide to guide our heart that determines the direction we want to go. Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Because of our sin nature, man’s heart is deceitful, (Jeremiah 17:9).
But God draws us to Himself. He put within us a conscience that lets us know He’s there. Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
That is again why He sent His Son Jesus to stand in the gap between our sin and His eternal judgement. That is why we celebrate Christmas! That is why we, from the heart, are drawn to the birth of Jesus as God and man, drawn to His life, drawn to His substitutionary death on the cross.
It was for you and for me. It is why we are drawn to celebrate Easter. Jesus broke the bonds of death by rising from the dead.
This is our confidence: the finished redemptive work of Jesus for every person who looks to Him and Him alone for their salvation. It is the Spirit of God who draws our hearts to Him, (John 6:44). Why? Because He deeply loves you, me and each person ever born. That is why He did what He did and is doing what He’s doing.
Those feelings of love for your new born daughter or son--they come from God. Those feelings of desiring to be treated fairly and caring for one another--they come from God.
Those feelings of jealousy when there is a break in a relationship because of suspected improper affections--God is jealous also when those who say they love Him start going off course and let something or someone else take first place.
Isaiah 61 shows us the heart of God through the hard trials of life many face. God knows that for many, Christmas is not a time of happiness.
It may be a time of deep and perhaps bitter hurt. You’re alone while everyone around you gets together with their family. You dared to pray for healing for a loved one deeply close to you and, they died. Now, at best you struggle to forgive God. You felt abandoned right at the time you needed help the most.
That family relationship is broken, and the very ones you want to be with are withheld from you. It becomes a time when so much injustice and pain has been done to you that you become a total cynic with the holidays…especially Christmas. “Just get me through this day and the stuff in this bottle will get me through just fine, thank you very much.”
God very much understands us, each one of us; our hurts, our loneliness, our despair. He understands, from the heart, what it’s like to be betrayed. Jesus was betrayed by His friend Judas, denied by his friend the apostle Peter. Jesus understands what it is like being abandoned when you need your friends the most. (Mark 14:27.)
Even when He was nailed to the cross at the end, “Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46). Jesus knows what it is like to be cut to the heart, to be made fun of, to have people mock you, to be ignored, to be put down, over and over again.
“He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.” (Isaiah 53:3)
Why did Jesus do all of this? Go get yourself a mirror. Look into that mirror. Who do you see? That is why Jesus did it! He did it, For You!
He did it because He loves you very much. He did it, for me. He did it for everyone because, God so loved the world! Why? “…For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2,3.
What is that joy? It is that person in the mirror. It is you, it is me and it is every person ever born who turns to God and puts their heart by faith, into the hands of God by trusting in Jesus for their salvation.
It is the joy of fellowship, the joy of a deep loving relationship restored forever between God and each believer. It has always been, and always will be, an issue and a decision from the heart.
If you are such a one that really struggles to get through Christmas, God knows you through and through. He sees and knows your thoughts and the intent of your heart, and your pain.
He came to heal you, to redeem you, to bring you to Himself. If you will, allow God to begin a healing process. Only He can guide and heal a wounded and broken heart.
If you will, He will heal. Keep the door open to God, always. In time, as it is with each person, in the privacy of our own heart, we will by God’s great kindness and mercy, find a tender space and way to celebrate Christmas.
For those who really get into celebrating Christmas for all the right reasons, continue to pray. The reasons fill the heart with profound purpose, thankfulness, adoration and worship.
The time is short. Life here is short. Eternity with God is forever and only possible because from the heart, God proved His love for you, for us, in the greatest of ways. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
Christ could not have died for us and payed the penalty for our sins if He forever stayed in Heaven. But when the appointed time came, Jesus did not hold back. Jesus stepped out of Heaven, came to Earth and was born to redeem hearts and souls…people.
It is for this reason that Jesus came and why every believer can truly and surely should, celebrate Christmas. God truly and deeply loves you.