The Christmas holidays is perhaps one of the greatest sources of hope for humanity. We gather together to eat big family meals, we exchange presents with long lost relatives, and we take an interest in the poor and broken. The very lights on the street seem to boldly proclaim that hope for humanity does exists. As Lady Gaga recently said, “Kindness is the cure to violence and hatred around world.” Is there a kinder time than Christmas for the western world? Let the hope bubble up anew.
And though the world is understandably hopeful at Christmas, we must recall that this is not the point of Christmas. The point of Christmas is not that a lifetime of kindness can change the world. The point of Christmas is that humanity is beyond fixing. The point of Christmas is that humanity forces the kindest person in the world, Jesus, into stable and then seeks to violently kill the baby that offers to heal the sick and to restore the broken-hearted. The greatest gift of kindness is met with some of the greatest expressions of human violence and hatred that the world has ever known. The message of Christmas is that men and women are hopeless race devoted to violence and hatred. Even the best of us violently reject God’s loving design for our lives. In short, the message of Christmas is one of human despair. As the philosopher Bertrand Russell once said of the human condition:
The life of Man is a long march through the night, surrounded by invisible foes, tortured by weariness and pain, towards a goal that few can hope to reach, and where none may tarry long.
But that is not the end of the story. Christmas is also comes with a message of divine hope. Men and women are not left condemned to wonder through clouds of doom on their way to death.
In Isaiah 9:2, the prophet says,
The people who walked in darkness Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined.
The story of Christmas is the story of how a great light broke into our dark world. It is the story of how the Son of God came to earth as a baby to fix our relationships and to usher in peace between us and God. It is the story of how our God suffered poverty, loneliness, hate, and even death to overcome the violence and hatred that ultimately lead to his death on the cross. Christmas is not about our acts of kindness; it is about how Jesus’ one act of kindness ( his death, burial, and resurrection) liberated all of God’s children from this world of doom. Christmas is hopeful precisely because it is all about Christ.
And Christ is not the ultimate motivator of human self-advancement; he is the savior. He is as Isaiah wrote the, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” He is the God of the universe who sacrificed all to save us from our despair. This Christmas and every Christmas, we should seek to make much of him as we talk to our kids, as we open presents, and as we interact with our families.Christmas is a time of hope!
How do you point people to Christ at Christmas?