Because of space travel, it is possible to view the earth from the heavens. It is truly amazing to look upon our world from the “heavenly perspective.” In God’s Word, we find the record of Christ’s view of the Christmas story. Let us view Christmas with the mind of Christ. Read Philippians 2:5-11 and notice the phrase, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” What is the mind of Christ concerning Christmas?
Christmas has always been special to me, even from my first recollections as a boy growing up. If I remember correctly, the closest my dad ever came to going to church with us as a family was at Christmastime when I was in a Christmas play. I needed a bathrobe so I could play the part of a shepherd in the local church Christmas play. We stopped at one of those places on the side of the road where they sold chenille bedspreads, which were quite popular. My folks purchased for me a red and white chenille bathrobe. My parents were together when we bought the bathrobe, and my mother got a half-hearted promise out of my dad that he would go see the Christmas play. I do not think he made it, but nevertheless, Christmas has always been special to me.
When God blessed me with a wife and children, I wanted Christmas to be a special time for our family. Of course, like most Christians, we have had to work at making Christmas what it ought to be. We have tried to celebrate it the way it should be celebrated, placing the emphasis where it ought to be placed, on the birth of Jesus Christ. Quite frankly, this is difficult. I am still rather ashamed of some of the things we do in light of eternity.
It is a difficult thing to keep Christ in Christmas. Every year we read the accounts of Christmas as they are given in the Gospel records. Doctor Luke gave us a beautiful description in Luke 2:1-12. In our mind’s eye, we picture this beautiful story, and we see a starry night in Bethlehem. As we read through this passage, we see a lovely manger scene: Mary and Joseph surrounding the baby Jesus. Animals were somewhere in the background. Shepherds came to worship and adore. A little distance away, an innkeeper, who had no room for them in the inn, provided the manger.
We could consider Christmas from one of a number of perspectives:
You could ask the shepherds – What did they think when the heavenly host came and the angel announced the birth of Christ? Ask them how they felt that starry night when heaven spoke to them. It is quite a story.
You could ask Mary – She knew she had never been with a man. Let her tell her story of how God said He would overshadow her and what she would bring forth would be what God sent forth.
You could ask Joseph – Ask him about when he heard that Mary, his betrothed, was expecting a child. He knew that he had never been with her in a physical way and that the baby was certainly not his. Imagine how he felt when God spoke to him, and when he believed what the Lord said.
You could ask the wise men – They later came to see the child. I see these wise men, colorfully clothed, riding Arabian horses or fine camels. We could ask the wise men about when they found the Lord Jesus and find out their perspective of the whole matter.
You could ask King Herod – Ask Herod how he felt threatened when the wise men asked, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” Many years before that time, the Roman Senate had voted and had given Herod the title of “King of the Jews.” He would have no king but himself.
You could look through many eyes at this story, but most of those eyes point to peripheral things. Our Lord has something more for us. Let us ask the baby about Christmas. That is what we are doing when we look in Philippians 2. Allow the Lord to tell us what Christmas meant to Christ.
He Came From Heaven
What does Christmas mean for Jesus Christ? Christmas meant that He came from heaven. Think about heaven in all its glory and splendor. The most glorious thing in heaven is the presence of God. We cannot consider heaven without considering Christ. He is coequal, coexistent, and eternally existent with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Christ spoke the worlds into existence. He created man from the dust of the earth. He made the universe. He had no beginning, and He has no ending. There is no god like our God. God willingly came from heaven. That is what Christmas means.
He Was Made in the Likeness of Men
He who created men came to earth in the likeness of men. Philippians 2:7 says, “But made him of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” The word incarnate means “robed in flesh.” Our Lord endured the humiliation of incarnation. He did not cease to be God when He became man. He did not give up His deity to become man. He took on humanity without giving up deity, but He did lay aside His glory. I cannot comprehend that God who made every human being and spoke the world into existence would be so loving and kind to us that He would robe Himself in flesh and allow Himself to be born as a little baby, but that is what Christmas means. He was made in the likeness of men.
He Came to Die
The Lord Jesus Christ came to earth so that He could die in our place. I think it is right that we make such a tender scene of the manger and the picture in Bethlehem. I have gone into the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem numbers of times. It is one of my favorite spots to visit when I am in the Holy Land. I have been down to the spot where they suppose the manger was and Christ as a baby lay. It is a tender, precious, sweet setting.
Why did He come? The Bible says in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Christmas should never be separated from the cross. We should never celebrate the cradle without talking about the cross. We should never talk about the birth without talking about why He was born.
At this moment, things are happening in our nation and around the world that are disturbing. I can easily become so bothered and frustrated with current events. Have you ever been there? Do you know what God does to reel me back in? He reminds me of the Person of Jesus Christ, who He is, what He came to do, and what He accomplished on the cross through His death, burial, and resurrection. If you could ask the baby who humbled Himself and was born in a manger about Christmas, I believe He would tell us what the Bible tells us. He came to earth. He was made in the likeness of men. He came to die. If you miss this perspective on Christmas, then you have missed everything.
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