May I suggest that one reason for celebrating Christmas is found in the purpose of John the Baptist’s ministry. That purpose is stated in John 1:7, “this man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, . . .” Look at the Christmas story as told by the prophet Isaiah.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3).
John the Apostles’ gospel begins with the story of John the Baptist announcing that the light has come. It says, “He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of the Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:8-9). Christmas is a time for all of us to bear witness of the Light. We know what Light represents. King David in the Psalms declares, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Our witness of the Light is that God Himself has come, God in the flesh.
There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. The Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die until he was able to see the Messiah. After Jesus was born, Mary and Joseph brought their baby to the temple. Simeon was there and seeing the baby, “he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said; . . . “for my eyes have seen Your salvation which you have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.” Luke 2:32
The Light has come! I know we tend to overdo decorations and gifts and all the trappings of a commercialized Christmas. While we are trying to celebrate the birth of Jesus, many are unaware of the true reason for the season. But, we can take advantage of the many lights, to give witness to the true Light. As we gaze at all the lights of the holiday, we can allow them to remind us that Jesus is the Light of the world. We can bear witness to the truth that The Lord is my Light and my salvation.
The Christmas story is about God’s fulfillment of His promise to provide salvation. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11). We can pray the Psalmist’s prayer, “Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us! (Psalm 4:6) And may we add, “That we will celebrate Christmas with this purpose: bearing witness of Your Light, may we carry Your Light to a world in darkness. Amen.”