“What is Christmas about,” asked grandma.
“Santa Claus,” she said but then stopped short and added “and Jesus.”
Oh yes, Jesus. Christmas is really about Jesus, isn’t it? It is his birthday. However, we get all the presents, he gets kicked out of public displays, and his name cannot even be mentioned in certain settings without fear of recrimination (such as Nina Totenberg of NPR apologizing for speaking the word “Christmas” in her broadcast). It seems very similar to the first Christmas when there was no room for Jesus, except in a stable. John in his gospel said, “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world did not know him. He came unto his own and his own did not receive him.”
This neglect at his birth turned to animosity when he became a man. But why was there such an aversion to someone who only did good? Perhaps, it is because he reminds us of our need of a Savior from sin. After all, Santa only lets us know that we have presents coming!
Brielle’s Sunday school teacher asked her one day, “Who is Jesus.”
“He was a king and a sweetheart!” she replied. A king, yes a king, this what the wise men diligently sought. Jesus is the sovereign God who became a man. He is the king of glory who someday will reign upon the earth.
But a “sweetheart?”
I asked Brielle what she meant by sweetheart. “He was a little baby!” happily she replied. Yes, a baby born of a virgin as the prophet Isaiah had predicted. The shepherds were told to go to Bethlehem where they would find the “babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” The Son of God came into the world as an infant.
But there are other ways that Jesus was a sweetheart. For instance, he healed the sick and caused the blind to see. In Mark 7:37 it says, "He has done all things well. He makes both the deaf to hear and the mute to speak."
In fact, there was not one problem that Jesus could not solve. And even today whatever we are facing: a relationship problem, financial difficulty, an addiction, or uncertainty about the future; he can and will help us. He invites each one of us to come to him!
But his greatest and most loving action was this: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The bad news is that we have sinned; the good news is that Jesus died for all our sins and that forgiveness is available to all who trust him.
Yes, Brielle is looking forward to Christmas, but I’m glad that she knows that it is not just about trees and lights and presents and Santa. Christmas is, most of all, about Jesus, a king and a sweetheart!
May you all have a blessed and merry Christmas!