What’s Christmas all about?

Christmas conjures up images of turkey, presents, Father Christmas and much more.  But what’s the real meaning of Christmas?

The word Christmas contains the word ‘Christ’ so it’s obviously connected to Jesus Christ.  But who was Jesus Christ and why the big fuss?

Jesus was born in approximately 4 B.C. but we don’t know exactly when.  However he must have been born some time and in 350 A.D. Pope Julius I decided that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on 25th December.  We don’t know why he chose that date.  Maybe it was because it was – according to the Roman calendar – the date of the winter solstice and so it fitted with an existing festival.  

But that still doesn’t explain what’s so special about Jesus.   To find the answer we need to go to the Bible. Jesus is introduced in the second main part of the Bible, called ‘The New Testament’.  A writer called Matthew starts the story, but he does so in the most boring way imaginable. No modern publisher would have accepted it!   Here is a taste of it:

Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah…

And so it continues for 42 generations!   As we read we suppose that Matthew’s purpose is to show that Jesus was descended from Abraham and David.  We get to the final link in the chain and expect Matthew to say, ‘…and Jacob the father of Joseph, and Joseph the father of Jesus’.  But he doesn’t.  He says ‘and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ’. In other words, Matthew is denying that Joseph was the father of Jesus.

 

Joseph is not the father?!

After going to all that trouble why would Matthew deny that Jesus was the son of Joseph?  It looks bad! But Matthew forsakes the claim that Jesus is descended from Abraham and David in order to make a much bigger claim.  A colossal one, in fact. Just two paragraphs later we find his claim. Matthew writes:

All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

That’s why Jesus is not the son of Joseph.  It’s because he’s the son of God.  And so the real meaning of Christmas is, ‘God with us’.   God entered our world! Wow!

 

But why would God, in the form of Jesus, enter our world?  Another Bible writer, John, tells us:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

If that’s true, it’s definitely reason to celebrate!  

If you’d like to find out more, why not come along to one of our services and introduce yourself?  We promise a warm welcome. Or drop us an email (radstockbaptist@gmail.com) and we’ll get in touch.  We might even buy you a coffee!