Updated: May 11, 2020
Commenting on Luke 1:26-38,
“Verse 26: “In the sixth month [that is, the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John the Baptist] the angel Gabriel was sent from God . . .” There is the most fundamental fact about Christmas and about the incarnation. It starts with God. It comes from God. An angel was sent from God. Christmas has no biblical meaning without God. It has an American meaning without God. It has a European meaning without God. It even has Buddhist meaning without God — as one of our missionaries pointed out to me recently. But it doesn’t have a historically true meaning, or a biblical meaning without God.” John Piper (sermon, “The Child to be born will be called holy – the Son of God”, December 25, 2005) (My emphasis added)
I remember also in Turkey (1993-1995) how the Muslim Turks would put up Christmas decorations before and on January 1, and call it “Baba Noel” (Father Christmas, or Santa Claus).
The world gets into Santa, the decorations, the gifts, the feasting, the celebrations, etc. but without God, Christmas has no ultimate or real meaning. God became flesh. The second person of the eternal Trinity, the Son, became human; He became a baby. He lived, taught the truth, did miracles, preached the gospel, healed, cast out demons, ate with sinners and tax-collectors, rebuked hypocrisy and pride, and was crucified on a Roman cross, died, and then, rose from the dead on the third day and ascended to heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father.
We can certainly celebrate with joy and enjoy family and feasting, a glass of wine, giving gifts, etc. – “. . . God who gives us all things richly to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17) “Enjoy life with the woman you love all the days of your fleeting life with which He has give to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life, and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 9:9) Christians can be balanced and enjoy life, but without God, the unbeliever, the secular humanist looses everything, even the enjoyment of the creation of God. The Muslim and Buddhist without Christ looses everything. Let’s celebrate the true meaning of Christmas by proclaiming the truth of the incarnation to our friends, neighbors, lost family members, and the nations.