Christmas gets an enormous amount of put-downs. It is “too commercial,” “a big nuisance,” “the loneliest time of year,” and a host of other assorted negatives. Sometimes those sad truths can bury the uniqueness of Christmas, and we forget how special this celebration really is.
Christmas is the advent of the Son of God. Advent means “coming or arrival” and could be used to describe the birth of any child. But “advent” describes the birth of Jesus Christ.
What was so unusual about the arrival of this Child that His birth is called the Advent? He was born of a woman. That is very ordinary. He was born in a stable. That isn’t exactly normal, but many babies have been born in stables, perhaps even during that same crowded night in Bethlehem.
Yet His birth was different. It, and the location of it, had been foretold hundreds of years before. That made it unusual. People were uniquely guided there by angels and by a star. That is not normal. Also, angels brought messages to Mary and Joseph concerning this baby’s name, His identity, and His purpose for coming. Parents do not usually experience that.
Additionally, all other babies are conceived, without personal self-determination about their existence. But the Son of God did not begin His life in Bethlehem. He always existed. Child of the eternal Father, He is an eternal Son, with no beginning, and no end. That makes His advent most extraordinary.
He came from another realm, another domain. He came from beyond what we could know, or see, or touch. It was His desire to leave eternity, and enter time. He arrived in that stable, through the womb of that woman, because He choose to do so, not because someone else wanted to have a baby. And the Bible tells us that He did it because of His great, eternal love for us.
Commercialism, and the sorrows experienced at Christmas are symptoms of the fact that most people have forgotten (or have never realized), that Christmas is a reminder of a marvelous, never-to-be-repeated event.
Because of His Advent, we need not be bound to the negatives of our existence, its sorrows and limitations. In His love, Jesus Christ punched a hole into where we are - not only so He could get in, but so we can get out, so we can enjoy the benefits of His eternal love. To do that, we need to experience a different kind of advent, a very personal “birth experience,” where the Son of God is reborn into our hearts.
For those who know the second advent, the first one has a significance that cannot be overshadowed by the negatives of the season. His coming is marvelous, but the fact that He is still here, in me, is blessing beyond comprehension.