There was a time when the glitz and tinsel of Christmas used to bother me. But no more. It bothered me, then, because it seemed at times as if Jesus had become lost in all the hoopla of the holiday season. I was fearful that the secularism and sophistication of society had somehow obscured Christ right out of Christmas.
But I’ve come to realize that it can’t be done. I’m not bothered by the trinkets of Christmas anymore because I’ve come to realize that no matter what anyone does or what a court may decree, the irrepressible Christ will be there. Even in the stores and shopping malls where crass commercialism is so rampant, Jesus is there. Although the Salvation Army may be banned from certain stores, his name is yet on the lips of adoring shoppers. The intercom in the department stores broadcasts for all to hear, strains of “Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the new born King!”
No matter how hard people may try, and they are indeed trying harder and harder with the passing of time, they can’t avoid Christ at Christmas. Whether in the ever-present nativity scene in someone’s front yard (though it be banned from the courthouse lawn) or the TV broadcast of a choir singing the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s “Messiah”, Jesus is there. Jack Hayford put it this way:
“Jesus is the central personality of history, and whether Christmas is canned or canonized, packaged in ribbon and sold for profit or sanctified in a cathedral where humble souls worship, He is the inescapable Christ. The fury of demon-inspired opposition to His praise seeks to ban pageantry and sterilize holy celebration to suit the antagonism of organized unbelief. But Jesus keeps rising again. Every Christmas turns out to be an Easter. The irrepressible power of his life keeps the song rolling from age to age.”
So who is this Jesus, this inescapable, irrepressible figure who fills Christmas with his presence? How shall we think of him: as the baby in a manger, the child who fled with his parents to Egypt, the teenager in the temple confounding the scribes, the angry prophet routing moneychangers in the temple, the teacher revealing eternal truths, the healer giving sight to the blind, the deliverer casting out demons, the savior dying for sinners, the Lord rising from the dead, the king now ruling from heaven? Yes, all this, and far more.
He is God become flesh.
He is virgin born Son of God, sinless man and eternal God in one person.
He is the last Adam, who alone can reverse the damage and death of the first Adam.
He is the substitutionary sacrifice for sinners (after all, the only real Christmas tree is the Cross).
He is risen Lord.
He is exalted at the right hand of the Father. All power and dominion and authority are his.
He is coming King!
So, let us never forget, especially at this time of year, that . . .
Although he became a participant in our world, he is the providential Lord over it (Heb. 1:3).
Although sinless, he became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21).
Although now unseen, he will one day return in visible and irresistible glory to consummate his kingdom.