Christmas is not just the celebration of a baby. It is a celebration of the event described in John 3:16. “God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son.” He gave His Son to be our Savior. He gave His Son to satisfy the requirement for a blood sacrifice. The innocent lamb of God was given to the world so that “whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Christmas is a celebration of the gift of God. The gift is His only son, our Savior. Jesus entered our world as a baby, but we are not intended to focus on a sweet, gentle, cuddly, little baby. My dear mother has often enjoyed telling me about her memories of me as baby and young child. That probably shouldn’t bother me, but it does. I want her fondest memories of me to be who I have become. I want her to enjoy who I am as a man, not who I was as a baby.
We must be careful how we see the baby in the manger. Will Ferrell, in the 2006 movie Talladega Nights, praying as his family is preparing to eat, begins his prayer, “Lord baby Jesus.” After continuing to address Jesus that way, his wife objects saying, “Jesus did grow up.” Ricky Bobby (Ferrell) responds with, “I like the Christmas Jesus best.” How sad. The baby Jesus cannot be celebrated without also seeing the resurrection Jesus. The baby Jesus is not more precious to us than the miracle working Jesus. Believers cannot see the baby in the manger without also seeing the man on the cross.
When we celebrate Christmas, the baby reminds us of the humanity and the humility of Jesus. The manger scene is a precious picture, but it is precious because in it we see God in the flesh, a sacrificial lamb, the gift of salvation, the love of God. Christmas is a celebration of a new life that makes possible our new life in Jesus. When we look at the baby in the hay, it is most important that we see not what He is, but who He is. He is the Son of God, our Savior, our Lord!