Christmas is a Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. The holiday has become increasingly commercialized over time, and the true meaning of Christmas can sometimes be lost amidst the gift-giving, tree-decorating, and holiday parties. In this article, we will explore the true meaning of Christmas as it is presented in the Bible, using Biblical references where possible.
The Birth of Jesus Christ
The true meaning of Christmas can be traced back to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago. The Bible tells us that Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph, who were visited by an angel and told that they would give birth to the Son of God. Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
Biblical Reference: “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).
The Significance of Jesus’ Birth
The birth of Jesus was significant for several reasons. First and foremost, it fulfilled a prophecy from the Old Testament that a savior would be born in Bethlehem. Additionally, Jesus’ birth was a symbol of hope and salvation for all humanity. Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection, Jesus offers a path to redemption and eternal life for those who believe in him.
Biblical Reference: “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
The Importance of Giving
While gift-giving has become a central part of the modern Christmas celebration, the true meaning of giving at Christmas can be traced back to the story of the Magi in the Bible. The Magi, also known as the Wise Men, were led by a star to the place where Jesus was born, and they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts were not just tokens of their respect for Jesus, but also symbolic of his importance and his role as a king.
The act of giving at Christmas is also rooted in the idea of generosity and selflessness, which are central themes in the Bible. The Bible encourages us to give to others, especially those in need, and to do so without expecting anything in return. By giving to others, we can reflect the love and generosity of God and show compassion to those who may be less fortunate than ourselves.
Biblical Reference: “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:13-14).
The Role of Family and Community
Another important aspect of the true meaning of Christmas in the Bible is the role of family and community. The Bible tells us that Mary and Joseph were not alone when Jesus was born. They were surrounded by shepherds who had been told of Jesus’ birth by angels, and later by the Magi who traveled from afar to pay their respects.
The idea of coming together with loved ones and celebrating the birth of Jesus is an important part of the Christmas holiday. It is a time to share in the joy of the season, to express gratitude for our blessings, and to offer support and encouragement to those around us. By coming together as a community, we can embody the spirit of love and togetherness that is central to the true meaning of Christmas in the Bible.
Biblical Reference: “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered…So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child” (Luke 2:1-5).
Practical Application of Christmas According to the Bible
As mentioned earlier, One of the most well-known themes of Christmas is giving, as we exchange gifts with friends and family. But the Bible also teaches us about the importance of giving to those in need.
Biblical Reference: “And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me'” (Matthew 25:40).
Practical applications of giving during Christmas include:
- Donating to charity or volunteering at a local shelter or food bank
- Purchasing gifts for those in need, such as children in foster care or elderly individuals in nursing homes
- Reaching out to those who may be struggling during the holiday season, such as those who are grieving or feeling lonely
The Christmas season can also be a time for forgiveness and reconciliation, as we reflect on the birth of Jesus Christ, who came to save us from our sins.
Biblical Reference: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Practical applications of forgiveness during Christmas include:
- Reaching out to those with whom we may have had conflicts or misunderstandings, seeking reconciliation and forgiveness
- Reflecting on our own shortcomings and asking for forgiveness from those we may have wronged
- Extending grace and forgiveness to others, even when it may be difficult
Christmas is also a time for service, as we follow the example of Jesus Christ, who came not to be served, but to serve.
Biblical Reference: “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).
Practical applications of serving during Christmas include:
- Volunteering at a local soup kitchen, hospital, or nursing home
- Participating in a community service project, such as a toy drive or coat donation
- Seeking out ways to serve our friends, family, and neighbors, such as offering to babysit or cook a meal
Finally, Christmas is a time for worship, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and give thanks for the hope and salvation he represents.
Biblical Reference: “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2:10-11).
Practical applications of worship during Christmas include:
- Attending a church service or participating in a nativity play or Christmas concert
- Setting aside time for personal reflection and prayer, focusing on the significance of the holiday and our gratitude for the gift of salvation
- Incorporating faith-based traditions into our celebrations, such as reading the Christmas story from the Bible or singing hymns and carols that celebrate the birth
In conclusion, the true meaning of Christmas in the Bible is centered around the birth of Jesus Christ, the hope and salvation he represents, and the themes of giving, family, and community that are central to the holiday. By focusing on these important aspects of the Christmas season, we can celebrate the holiday in a way that is meaningful and true to its origins.
As we exchange gifts, gather with loved ones, and enjoy the festivities of the season, let us remember the true meaning of Christmas and the message of love and hope that it represents.
Biblical Reference: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).