Written by Chris Griffin
As a young boy, one of my very first Christmas memories is being in an ICU room at the hospital as my Grandfather was in his final days. My Granddad actually died on Christmas day – December 25, 1982. All of my Christmas memories in the following years had a taste of death associated with them. My grandmother and my mom reflected on their heart breaking loss, and at the same time they celebrated the birth of Jesus, while all of us kids waited with expectation for new toys and games.
The real meaning of Christmas cannot be fully understood without a solid grasp on death. The reason we celebrate the birth of God’s Son is rooted in the truth that He came to the earth for one purpose – to die a criminals’ death in order to rescue us from our sin.
Each December, the whole world is filled with the joy of Christmas. For some this includes gifts under the tree, the lights in the yard, Christmas cards (aka annual family picture) in the mail, huge dinners with family and friends, stockings hanging on the mantle, and greetings of “Merry Christmas” to the lady at the check-out counter.
For some who may be reading this, this Christmas is a time of sorrow (much like my family’s holiday was back in 1982). Maybe you don’t have the finances for the presents you would like to give to your children, family, and friends. Maybe your heart sinks when you think of loved ones who will not be able to join your celebration for various reasons.
Regardless of your current feelings of celebration or loss during this month, we would be best served in remembering the truth of the Gospel during this season. Life conquered death when Jesus was born into the world. He shall reign forever and ever. Joy came to the world. He rules the world with truth and grace. In His Name all oppression shall cease. Son of the Father now in flesh appearing. Christ the Savior is born.
Every single year, it amazes me that I hear the Gospel constantly during the month of December. The truth of the Gospel is heard in each song that is played in the grocery store, on the car radio, in the mall, at the coffee shop, literally everywhere we go.
It’s the Gospel that gives birth to love, joy, peace and generosity. Emotional holiday sentiment does not produce the kind of eternal substance our soul craves; only the Gospel can!
We can truly be joyful at Christmas! No matter what may be happening in your life, in your family, in your circumstances, we can know that we have a Savior and heaven will be our home one day.
Look at Christmas in a new way this year. See the Gospel. Be the Gospel. Share the Gospel.
Chris Griffin grew up at Allison Park Church since he was 7 years old and has served on our staff since 2000. Chris graduated Geneva College with a degree in Organizational Development and is Ordained with the Assemblies of God. Chris is happily married to Kate with 4 kids; their whole family bleeds black and gold.