Advent 2022: Do You Really Understand Christmas?

Our granddaughter was born with syndactyly, the malformation of the fingers on her right hand. To us, she is still “practically perfect in every way.” We believe God is going to use that little hand as a powerful testimony to His glory. Still, she is starting to notice that it – and she – is different. Not less than anyone else, just different. She asked me yesterday, “Nana, why is my hand like this?” I told her that is just how God made her. “God didn’t make me,” she said. “Joy,” I asked, “what is your memory verse from Honey (Sunday) School?” She said, “God made everything!” complete with hands spread wide. “So if God made everything He made you, too, and your hand” I answered. “Oh!” she said, “God made me!” “That’s right, sweet girl!” Joy knew the facts, but she didn’t understand what they meant.

It’s Christmas time and that means it’s time to think about the Baby in the manger and about shepherds, angels, and wise men. But just like Joy, if all we know are facts then we don’t understand why He came at all. If we don’t recognize that this Baby is about us and for us then we don’t know the whole story of Christmas. This Baby came for more than parties and pretty paper and ribbons and lights all aglow. He came with a mission. When the Lord sent a dream to Joseph to tell him about the Baby in Mary’s womb, He said, “He will save His people from their sins” (Matt 1:21). Luke records Jesus’ words: “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10). That’s you and me. The Christmas story is about God sending His Son to find us who are lost and bring us back home.

And the Christmas story is as much about the death of Jesus as it is about His birth. If God only sent His Son to be born then we are still lost. If He does not grow up then you and I have no real hope. The Baby in the manger must become the Man on the cross if we are to be saved. He must become the resurrected Lord if we are to have eternal life. This innocent and precious boy must bear the weight and punishment of all of our sins or Christmas means nothing.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, Beloved. But more than that I wish you the heart of Christmas: “that you may grasp how wide and long and high and deep” is God’s love for you (Eph 3:18).