By Rev. Dr. William H. Chavis, Jr.
Reference Scripture: John 12:1-2, 12-13, 20-21
Some people treat Christmas as a secular holiday, and Santa Claus becomes Christ’s substitute. The mythical Santa gives out gifts of worldly pleasures around a decorated wooden tree. The Christmas tree becomes the substitute for the Cross on Calvary. While Christ Jesus, who is Christmas, gave the gift of Himself to us on a wooden cross. He bore our sins in His body on that cross (1 Peter 2:24). That cross, decorated with the blood of Jesus, became His badge of honor.
Our text explains that thousands of people in Jerusalem celebrated Passover. This Holy Day was established for Jesus and explained Him, so people could be ready to put their faith in Him. Just like Christmas today, Jesus was overlooked, neglected, and unrecognized. The crowd was more interested in the spectacle of it all, the pageantry, the colors, the food, the rituals, rather than Christ who gave it authentic meaning.
In verses 20 and 21, some Grecian Jews wanted more than the crowd’s excitement of the Passover event and the festive holiday greetings. They approached Philip and informed him that they wanted to see and worship Jesus. Do you seek Jesus at Christmas? Or is Santa Claus the focus? Are you caught up in buying gifts and singing Christmas songs because it is observed for many as a holiday, not a Holy Day? The Greeks in our text wanted to see and worship Jesus only.
Do you seek to worship Jesus at Christmas only? Don’t overlook nor neglect Him but recognize Him for who He is. He is Christmas, and that makes Jesus the focus of this Holy Day. Jesus purposely died (Acts 2:22-24), so we would worship Him at Christmas. His death triggered the importance of His birth by showing God’s unconditional love for us at the cross. Christ’s birth is the first Christmas. His death explains Christmas.
Christmas tells the story that we are the bull’s eyes of God’s love, and Jesus Christ is the arrow through whom the love of God flows. Christmas is not about making a profit in the commercial venture of buying and selling merchandise to be received as gifts. Christmas is the “good news” (the Gospel) of great joy (Luke 2:10) concerning the character of God with the announcement that God is unconditional love and unspeakable joy (Psalm 43:4) in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When you allow Christ Jesus to be Himself in you by faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), that is when unspeakable joy and spiritual prosperity will open the floodgates of your soul. God gives the fullness of Himself in Christ Jesus (Colossians 2:9). This good news will make us shout and dance with praise and thanksgiving. Why? Because Christ’s birth is the divine announcement that God is love in the Person of the Lord Jesus, born to express His love toward us, without conditions, exceptions, or reservations.
Jesus is offering life eternal. Eternal life is the spiritual quality of life, based on God’s immeasurable nature because it is infinite and can be enjoyed now! Eternal life is the center and source of joy (the intense excitement that God has in Himself, Psalm 43:4), peace (freedom of disturbances that is beyond human understanding, Philippians 4:7), and unconditional love (John 3:16).
Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!