What would Christmas be without the trees?
What would Christmas be without the lights?
What would Christmas be without the decorations?
What would Christmas be without the gifts?
What would Christmas be without carolers going from house to house?
What would Christmas be without baked goods, apple cider, and eggnog?
What would Christmas be without Santa Clause?
Christmas was Christmas before these things and Christmas is still Christmas if these things were to disappear.
Imagine Christmas without trees, without lights, without decorations, without gifts, without caroling, and without the food.
You are left with a wonderful list:
- The tree of life (Revelation 2:7)
- The cross of Christ, being the tree upon which He gives His life for us (Acts 5:30)
- The light of the world (John 8:12)
- Decorate your life with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23)
- The wonderful gift of salvation (Romans 6:23)
- The songs of salvation abounding (Psalm 135:1)
- The food that we break in the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19)
- Jesus Christ as the One whom we may not see, but we surely believe in (1 Peter 1:8)
Now I want you to imagine Christmas without Christ. No baby in a manger to celebrate, meaning neither will there be a man on the cross. No evergreen trees in homes representing the everlasting life of Christ. No lights representing the light of the world. No candy canes, reminding us of the shepherds at the birth of Christ. No Christmas carols about the newborn Savior. No giving nor receiving presents, reminiscent of the gift of salvation. Without Christ Christmas ceases to be Christmas, and simply becomes another day.
I make these points to get to the root of Christmas: Christ. If we pull the root, Christmas cannot flourish as it is meant to be, and simply becomes another secular holiday in which our celebrations turn inward rather than outward.
Christmas stands in spite of our modern traditions. Christmas is the incarnation of the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God, all packed into the small baby that is Jesus Christ. He was born as any other human being. He was raised by a father and mother as any other child would be. He went through doubts, discouragement, and struggles just as anyone else would. It is because of this, that we can trust Him not as some random person to help us in our time of need, but as our loving Savior, who knows everything we have gone through (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15), and can say, “I know what it’s like. I’ve been there. Yet I have come through the other side and seen glory! Let me help you through the muck that is this life. Better yet, let me give you life.”
All of this is only possible by the incarnation, the infinite God coming to earth in finite flesh. There is no greater miracle. There is no greater love (Philippians 2:5–11). May we rejoice in the great baby Jesus, that did not grow into being our Savior, but has always been our Savior!
Christmas is just that: Christmas. Take all of the tradition out, and you still have Christ. Take Christ out, and all you have is tradition. Christ remains forever. Tradition fades. Hold to Christ this Christmas.