In Gospel, Perspective

A friend sent me a Christmas card with these words written in calligraphy on its cover: “CHRIST is the LIGHT to be lifted, the TRUTH to be told, the PEACE to be promised, the LOVE to be shared.” In their balanced beauty, these words express the beautiful balance of Christmas.

To begin with, Christmas is about CHRIST. It is a celebration of his birthday. Father Christmas, reindeer, parties and presents: these are all delightful parts of contemporary Christmas celebrations. But the reason they exist is because Christmas day exists; and it exists because Jesus Christ was born of a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Sometimes children at Sunday school celebrate Christmas by decorating a cake and singing “Happy Birthday Baby Jesus”. Now that brings the festive season into focus!

Christ is the LIGHT to be lifted … Jesus himself said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Christmas is a time to make the Light of the World our personal light. When Jesus is lifted by faith into the centre of a person’s life, he radiates the light of love, holiness, and eternity. “While you have the light,” Jesus said, “believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12:36).

Christ is the TRUTH to be told … Christmas is a time to tell people about Jesus, the one who said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). And there is a lot to tell! Long ago, a baby was born who was and is the Son of God. In Jesus, God became human and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. This is known as the incarnation, and is the central event in human history, as our dating system acknowledges. (AD stands for Anno Domini, meaning, “In the year of our Lord”, while BC stands for “Before Christ”.) The child Jesus grew to be a man who lived a sinless life and died a sacrificial death. He rose bodily from the dead, guaranteeing that those who trust in him will likewise be raised from death to enjoy eternal life with him.

Christ is the PEACE to be promised … When Jesus was born, the angels sang to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). The birth of Jesus is proof of God’s good will towards all people everywhere. God sent Jesus to make peace between himself and mankind. Through his death on the cross, Jesus made amends for our sin, which is the cause of our alienation from God, and opened the way for us to be reconciled by faith to God. This is why the Bible calls him “the Prince of Peace”. He is the Peace that is promised to those who make him Prince of their lives.

Christ is the LOVE to be shared … God is love, and Jesus is the ultimate expression of that love. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is the gospel, the “good news” of God’s saving love. And it all began with the birth of Jesus Christ.

No wonder we send greeting cards each December to wish one another “Happy Christmas!”

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