Why is Christmas such a big deal?
There is a Presbyterian Pastor in Idaho named Douglas Wilson who wrote a book about Christmas called “God Rest Ye Merry” and the book’s subtitle is striking: “Why Christmas is the Foundation for Everything.” Really? Is Christmas really the foundation for everything?
Yes it is. At Christmas we celebrate the Incarnation – when God, the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator and Sustainer of the universe was born with little hands, little fingers, and a little heart. Little Lord Jesus was born – no crying he made? I doubt it. He was a real, human baby – that’s the point. God put on flesh and dwelt among us.
In John’s Gospel it says that “the Word [Jesus] became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14 ESV). A more literal translation of that is “the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.” What? “Pitched his tent”? Yes Jesus came down and built a tent, a dwelling place, among us; in fact, he built a tabernacle, a tent. There was a time in the Old Testament where you went to the tabernacle to encounter God. And that is why Jesus “pitched a tent” as it were when he came to earth. When we come to Jesus we encounter God, which is why John goes on to say, “…and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). That is the wonder and glory of Christmas – when we encounter Jesus we come face to face with the living God, the same holy God who dwelt in the tent in the wilderness.
And that is the foundation for everything. Since Jesus came down we have a new and living way to come face to face with God. By Jesus, and through repentance and faith, we get to enjoy God, worship God, commune with God, and dwell with God in whose “presence there is fullness of joy” and at whose “right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).