If you haven’t noticed lately, we’ve left the season of pumpkin spice lattes and Thanksgiving dinners, and we’re in the season of candy canes and peppermint mochas. Stores have been selling Christmas decorations and playing holiday tunes over the loudspeakers. At this point in December, you probably have your gifts picked out for your relatives and your plans made for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. After all of these plans are made, then you see whether or not you can find a Christmas Eve service that fits with your schedule.
Even as Christ-followers, it can be easy to get caught up in all the chaos of the holiday season and to put our Lord and Savior “on the backburner.” We can get caught up in the hype of the holidays and lose sight of the whole Reason for the season: “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14 ESV).
If there is one word we can use to describe what the Word did, it is that he condescended to us. The Puritans and Reformers of old used this glorious term to define God’s interactions with humanity throughout Scripture: He condescended to Abraham to make a covenant with him, that from his offspring all the nations shall be blessed (Ge. 12:1-3; 15:1-6). He condescended to Moses to disclose to him the covenant regarding the Law (Ex. 20:1-31:18). He condescended to David to make the royal covenant with him, that One from his lineage will rule on the throne forever (2 Sam. 7:13, 16). God condescended to the prophets to give them the message His people need to hear (Heb. 1:1). Yet greater than all of these moments in Scripture is when God condescended to humanity in His Son (Jn. 1:14; 3:16).
The fact that the very Word who “was with God” and “was God” (Jn. 1:1) voluntarily took on our flesh is the miracle we must remember. The fact that "for our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God" is glorious (2 Cor. 5:21). The Son came to reveal the glory of the Father in the most humble manner, though He deserves all reverence and awe. He deserves to sit in the highest honor of all the kings of the earth, yet His first moments in the flesh were with a young couple and some animals. He deserves the most glorious throne, yet He made the feeding trough His throne. This very Jesus came to save His people from His Father’s wrath and to make perfect atonement on our behalf. In so doing, His children now possess eternal life and eternal fellowship with Him.
We don’t celebrate Christmas because of family, or presents, or simply for the festivities. THIS is the reason for the season: we celebrate Christmas because of the Son, who is worthy of all glory and honor and praise (Rev. 4-5). As Spurgeon states in his comment on Matthew 1:21:
"The Lord of glory is born the Son of Man, and is named by God’s command, and by man’s mouth, Jesus, the Saviour. He is what he is called. He saves us from the punishment and the guilt of sin, and then from the ill effect and evil power of sin. This he does ‘for his people’, even for all who believe in him. It is his nature to do this, as we see in the very fact that his name is Jesus — Saviour. We still call him by that name, for he still saves us in these latter days" (C.H. Spurgeon, Commentary on Matthew: The Gospel of the Kingdom (First published 1893; Banner of Truth, 2010), 6).
My friends, we need to return back to our roots for celebrating Christmas. Prioritize worship of the Son this season, and every season of life. Instead of solely receiving gifts, give graciously to those who have little this Christmas season. Display the love of Christ as you walk through your favorite stores. Give some of your Christmas money to missionary organizations that exalt Jesus and go out to the nations to make Him known. Partake of the glory of being a child of the King this holiday season, and invite others to do the same.