Although I (and others) joke about me being a grinch at Christmas, there’s a lot I love about it. As a child, I loved the presents, and my mom would make these amazing macaroons that I always snuck far too many of, assuming I was too clever to get caught. (I was always wrong about that, by the way.) As a parent, I love seeing my kids get excited about the holidays, about presents (which I mentioned the other day), and getting creative in the kitchen.
But I also love being able to share with them something I never had growing up, something my parents couldn’t share (which is not to blame them): the celebration of the great mystery revealed. This is a time of year when we get to celebrate one of the most important events in human history—the moment when God entered in to time and space, took on flesh and became… a baby.
A baby who would grow in wisdom and stature, who would call upon ordinary men to be his disciples, who would never once fall short of the requirements of God’s law. Who would be murdered by sinful men—and would give up his life so that sinners would find forgiveness. Who would rise again from death so that those same sinners would have confidence and hope as they put their trust in him. Who now sits at the right hand of God, with all power and authority entrusted to him, and who will one day soon return to put an end to sin and death, and usher in the new creation.
This is the grand drama of redemption—the story God has been telling since before the foundation of the world. The drama whispered about in the earliest pages of the Bible. That moves so slowly at first, but gradually becomes more and more pressing and important in each moment of history until—finally—he is here.
And this is what we are celebrating at Christmas. Despite what our culture tells us—or even what our family traditions were growing up—Christmas isn’t about mere gift exchanges. It isn’t about spending time with family (as nice as that can be). It isn’t even about doing good and helping those in need (though certainly we should do that). Christmas is the announcement of God breaking into human history, taking on human form, and living among us. It is a declaration of war on sin and death.
It’s a story that’s hidden and slowly revealed piece by piece, bit by bit. Just as a mustard seed grows into a large tree, so too, the kingdom and God’s victory over our enemies seems to come from nowhere. But it’s always there. It’s always being hinted at in every moment of God’s activities within this world and throughout everything recorded in Scripture.
I love that at Christmas time—and all the time—I get to share this good news with my kids. What they do with it, only time will tell. But for now, I just get to be thankful I can give them this gift that means so much, even if they don’t realize it yet.