They say that Christmas is all about children. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our insistence on this line demonstrates that we, despite our sophistication, cannot bear too much reality. The truth is that Christmas is about one Child – The Child.
An unknown writer put it like this:
‘More light than we can learn,
More wealth than we can treasure,
More love than we can earn,
More peace than we can measure,
Because one Child is born.’
When we insist on saying that Christmas is for children we are using a motherhood argument in order to give ourselves an excuse for not facing up to reality and the demands of Christmas. Christmas assumes that we are all hopeless and helpless rebels. Hopelessly lost in terms of relating to God and helpless to please Him. Jesus, The Child, The Son of God came into the world in order to identify with us. He did this in four profound ways:
- He took on flesh in Mary’s womb;
- He willingly laid aside His glory for a time;
- He experienced our joys and sorrows as He lived amongst us; and
- He stood in our place on the cross bearing the punishment for our sin.
Christmas is not about children opening their toys, being captured by the wonder of a mythical Santa and trained for a life of sentimentality, pretence and false hopes. But it is about The Child who would fill us with wonder all our days. A wonder based upon the reality that we are the visited planet, that there is a God who came ever so humbly, ‘born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit’ in order to rescue us from our sins (the meaning of the Name Jesus). This is not childish. This is man’s stuff. God became man. This is for men and women to take to heart. This is what ought to humble us and cause us to become like little children, as Jesus taught us. Like little children who humbly depend upon God as their Heavenly Father.
If we really loved our children, we wouldn’t content ourselves with the popular sentimentalism that ‘Christmas is for children’; rather, we would grow up and quit hiding behind the sentimentality, and come as adults to the Child who is Lord. He will make demands upon us but will thoroughly transform us over a lifetime. We will never lack wonder.
That real gift, to be passed on to our children, will keep us from pretence, despair and triviality, so that we can be people who value substance over style, truth over triviality and service over selfishness. And all because one Child was born.