What is Christmas Really About?

Christmas isn’t about baby Jesus.   It’s about Jesus, just not baby Jesus.
It’s about Jesus coming, showing up in the muck and mess of the physical world, assuming a position of no power and just walking around in skin like everyone else. 
The Advent season, the season of waiting for Christmas, isn’t about waiting for the announcement of the birth of the Savior. That already happened. It’s about waiting for the announcement of the return of the Savior, about acknowledging a continuing need for as much of His Presence as we can get.
For some, it’s with excited anticipation, made manifest in the jitters of small children who can’t fall asleep for the thought of what the morning holds. For such as these, it is joy in the gifts that are coming. 
For some, it’s with weariness, knowing that the current struggle or pain will someday be seen as fleeting. For these, it is determination to stand firm until it gets better, seen in the person of Mary, bearing through the shame cast her way, enduring a long journey and painful labor to birth her King, obedient through difficulty that was given as a blessing because of her faithfulness. The good and hard entertwined and impossible to separate, all taken as worthwhile for His purpose.
For some, it’s with a yearning for something they can’t put their finger on, even as they hold out hope for it. Though others around them might see it as foolishness to want the unknown, the story shows them wise and committed. For these, it is a search through the night sky, following a glimmer of truth, as seen in the “wise men” who pursue a star for long years in search of an unknown baby king. It’s an inner draw to what is real, whether it seems real to others or not.
For some, it’s almost an afterthought, the result of being in the right place at the right time and finding themselves stirred anew through the message of God. He’s fine working that way, delivering the good news directly to those who hadn’t sought it out, as He did to the shepherds. They were about their own business when He sent a whole sky-choir to change their focus for the night. He can find hearts wherever He chooses, and Christmas reminds us of that.
We remember Christmas to look back at God giving all of Himself to the world, a reminder that love means emptying yourself for the sake of the one you love. We give gifts to participate in this process, looking for how we can step into the act of making someone else’s life good. We choose selflessness and sacrifice and presence and kindness, because that’s what God did.
But we also remember Christmas to look forward to all that has yet to happen, to the day when these truths won’t be a passing season, but a fully enacted reality. We remember our hope in a world where Jesus shows up in the muck and mess of every day, acknowledging that for now He does so through us and will one day blast in and make it all new and better. He will flood earth with heaven and everything will be as it should be. That’s just what happens when His Presence and Love fill a place - everything is good. 
So if, for you, this holiday is about fun and laughter and singing and joy…embrace it and know that you are embodying the light of Christ and hope that won’t give up.
And if, for you, this holiday squeezes a little tight because you feel the weight of the world’s brokenness pressing down on you, giving the usual cheer a grating, off-tune feel…accept it and know that you are reflecting the reality of our need for Christ. 
And if, for you, this holiday feels empty and meaningless because life is just life and lights don’t change it, rest in it and know that the power of Christ depends not one bit on your tendency toward sentiment or joviality. 
Because at the end of it all, Christmas is about how Jesus arrives in the situation He chooses and it doesn’t have to make an ounce of sense to anyone. He shows up because it’s time and that’s that.
This Christmas, remember that this story is both a past truth and a future promise about the Presence of the King in the world. It’s cause to celebrate.