True meaning of Christmas explained

Published 9:33 am Saturday, December 25, 2010

by Jim Foreman

Last Sunday, our church choir at Sedley Baptist Church did a great job in presenting a cantata entitled “Joy Has Dawned.”

I really enjoyed it because this cantata has such a great message to it, which is the joy of Christmas. The sad thing is, that for many people, they have no joy when it comes to Christmas. Their joy in Christmas has been lost, and it has been replaced by the busyness that comes this time of year.

You know the busyness I am talking about — the baking, shopping, wrapping, visiting, parties, giving and receiving of gifts, and the list goes on. In all those things, they have lost the joy that is found in the true meaning of Christmas.

I was watching a program on television the other night, and one performer said, “Christmas is all about spending time with friends and family.”

Now, while I would say that family and friends are a part of what makes our Christmas season so great, I also think that we miss out on the real joy of Christmas if we think that it is what it is all about.

Again, do not get me wrong; I see them as major parts of our celebration, but the real joy and true meaning of Christmas is not found in family and friends. So you may ask what then is the true meaning of Christmas if it is not about gifts, shopping, baking and spending time with family and friends.

Let me answer that question by sharing with you something that is found in the Bible. Most of us know about the Wise Men or the magi, but do we ever really consider what they were doing? We often just think about them as some guys from the Far East chasing a star, but I see much more.

We can read about them in Matthew 2:1-2, which tells us this about them. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’”

These magi were not just chasing a star, but they were trying to find the one who was born King of the Jews to worship him. The whole focus of the magi was to worship Jesus.

The whole reason for their long journey was to worship Jesus. This is the start of the true meaning of Christmas; it starts with worshipping Jesus, but it continues on from there.

Later then in Matthew 2:11 we read this about the magi. “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother, and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”

What we see here is that they do find Jesus, and they do worship Him once they find Him. More than just worshipping Him when they find Him, we see that they worship Him with their very best. They worship Him by presenting to Him gold, frankincense and myrrh.

They worshipped Him with gold because He was a King and gold represented royalty. They worshipped Him by giving frankincense, which was used in the temple in worship so they worshipped Him because He was a Priest. They worshipped Him by giving Him myrrh, which was used for embalming because He was born to die as Savior.

We can see here the true meaning of Christmas, which is worshipping Jesus and not just worshipping Jesus, but worshipping Him with our very best because He is our King, our Priest, and our Savior.

The best present you could ever receive was wrapped in swaddling cloths at His birth and was born of a virgin. That little baby grew to be a man and lived a sinless life. He died on a cross and rose the third day and satisfied the requirements of a Holy God with the sacrifice of His life.

To place your faith and trust in Him is the best gift you could ever receive because that is the gift of eternal life and joy will dawn in you when you accept this gift. If you have accepted this gift, but you have not been living like it, then there is no greater gift you could give yourself and those you love than recommitting yourself to living for and worshipping Jesus and have your joy restored.

Let us all focus on the true meaning of Christmas, which is worshipping Jesus Christ, our Savior, and our Priest, and our King, and have the joy of Christmas restored.

The Rev. JIM FOREMAN is pastor of Sedley Baptist Church. He can be reached at