Celebrating a Celebration?


The story is told of a fellow who decided he would throw a retirement party for his colleagues, friends and family, having worked in the same company for over forty years. He hired a hall, booked a jazz band, contacted some outside caterers and sent out invitations. Then, in due course, a great crowd descended on the hall, and as the evening wore on, began to really ‘whoop it up.’ Strangely though, the host himself did not turn up! He couldn’t face it. Sadly, the nearer he got to retirement, the more depressed he got. It was something to do with thoughts of growing old, and being of no more economic use. But this didn’t stop the party goers from enjoying themselves! They ate and drank. They laughed. They enjoyed a great camaraderie. So much was this so, that they completely missed the original purpose of the party.

The above can be the same with Christmas. We can get so carried away with the festivities, that we miss the main reason for it all. Many do not even give the main reason for Christmas a thought – yet this does not prevent them celebrating. They too ‘whoop it up’ – but are really just ‘celebrating a celebration.’

On the first Christmas night, a message from heaven to earth was given. It is contained in Luke 2:11, and it captures the real ‘reason for the season’ of Christmas in a nutshell. The verse reads ‘To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.’ Keeping this verse in mind will surely enable us to celebrate Christmas and not just celebrate a celebration. Note:-


  1. The Place

 ‘To you is born this day in the city of David …’ The ‘city of David’ refers to the ‘little town of Bethlehem’ where Christ was born. Bethlehem sets Christmas in time and space. Here we are dealing with history, not mythology. If you had the means, you could fly to Tel Aviv. From there you could take a coach to Jerusalem. From Jerusalem you could take a bus five miles or so to the south west, and you would arrive in … Bethlehem. Christ was born in this exact location, as the prophet Micah had foretold (see Micah 5:2). His birth was so significant that it divided our calendar into the eras of BC and AD. Christmas concerns an Event which really happened, in time and space.


  1. The Person

 Our verse tells us that none less than ‘Christ the Lord’ was born in Bethlehem. He is the One at the heart of Christmas. ‘Christ’ is a title, not a name. It means ‘the anointed One’ or ‘Messiah.’ In Jesus, the longed for Messiah, promised by God, arrived. In Old Testament times, prophets, priests and kings were all anointed with oil at the outset of their ministries. It symbolised their being set apart by God and endowed with His Holy Spirit. As the anointed one, Jesus combined the three-fold role of prophet, priest and king in His one person. Notice that He is also described as ‘the Lord.’ This is a title for God Himself. The uniqueness of the Christian Faith stems from the uniqueness of the Christ of the Christian Faith. He is God! Christians contend for the absolute deity of the Christ revealed in the Bible. Jesus is ‘Emmanuel, God with us.’ He is God in the flesh, for ‘In Him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily’ (Colossians 2:9).


  1. The Purpose

 Luke 2:11 actually takes us to the heart of the heart of Christmas. It does so as it says ‘to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour …’ Christ’s coming into the world to be our Saviour therefore is the divine purpose behind Christmas. Christ’s coming into the world to be our Saviour also encapsulates the very essence of the Christian gospel. ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15). ‘You shall call His name Jesus for He will save His people from their sins’ (Mathew 1:21).

The word ‘Saviour’ means a rescuer or deliverer. This in turn begs the question: From what does Christ save? The answer of the Bible is that Christ saves sinners from the divine condemnation they deserve for their sins. He saves us from the wrath of God. He saves us from the very flames of hell. Our greatest need is for a Saviour, for by nature we are all sinners, and thus liable to the wrath of God. The gospel proclaims that in Christ alone we find the only Saviour for our need. This takes us from Christ’s cradle to His cross, for Christ was born to die. Salvation was procured, not so much by the birth of Christ but by the death of Christ – when thirty three years later He offered up His sinless life as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of others, ‘that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3:16).

The purpose of Christmas? It was salvation. Jesus came to execute God’s eternal plan of salvation. He came to be our Saviour.


  1. The Pertinence

 ‘To you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour …’ God’s salvation reaches real people. The ‘you’ here refers to some shepherds who were going about their business in the fields surrounding Bethlehem. On the first Christmas, almighty God actually graciously intervened in their lives. But the verse has a wider application. God’s offer of salvation still extends to sinners today. The gospel invitation is made ‘to you.’

            Jesus is a Saviour to receive. ‘The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord’ (Romans 6:23). Have you received Him? You certainly need Him. And you may still receive Him, for He never turns anyone away when they confess that they are a lost sinner and cast themselves on Him for salvation.

‘To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord’(Luke 2:11). Here is the greatest Christmas present you can or ever will receive. The salvation of God in Christ is a gift to enjoy in life; a gift to enjoy in death and a gift to enjoy for all eternity.


O holy child of Bethlehem

Descent to us we pray

Cast out our sin and enter in

Be born in us today

We hear the Christmas angels

The great glad tidings tell

O come to us, abide with us

Our Lord Immanuel.


Timothy Cross


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