This time of year we often speak about “the true meaning of Christmas.” Most people recognize that the essence of Christmas (as opposed to “the holidays”) has little to do with all the bustle, the shopping, and the spending that seem to occupy so much of our attention in this season.
Many people, when they think of Christmas, associate it with the warmth of family, and with kindness toward others. That’s closer to what Christmas represents. But there’s one verse in the Bible that I think sums up the true meaning of Christmas in a way we can all understand:
This is perhaps the most well known verse in the entire Bible, although it’s not often thought of as a Christmas verse. But it is!
It tells us that God “gave” His Son. That, of course, refers to His sending Jesus into the world on the day we now celebrate as Christmas. And why did God bring us His Son on that first Christmas day?
“For God so LOVED the world.”
Christmas is all about God’s love for us! It was that love that brought Jesus into the world to live, and eventually die, for us. I call it the MANIFESTED LOVE OF GOD.
The word “manifest” means: able to be seen, clearly visible, easy to recognize.
And that’s what Christmas represents to us – it makes clear and visible the great love God has for every person He created (He so loved the “world”). The Bible tells us that no greater love has anyone than that they would lay down their life for a friend (John 15:13).
When God brought Jesus into the world on that first Christmas, it was with the purpose that He would lay down His life for you and for me, and for every person ever born on the face of the earth.
So, amid all the hustle and bustle of the “holiday season,” whenever I hear the word “Christmas” it brings to my mind the greatness of the love God has for me. The Bible says God IS love. Christmas shows us that love in a way we can all see, understand, and celebrate.
And for me, that’s the true meaning of Christmas!