Many of us still view the Christmas season as a time to celebrate the first coming of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, to the stable in Bethlehem. We know that He was and is God in the flesh. Others view Christ as a historical figure whose memory has outlived its usefulness. Some would do anything within their power to remove every mention of His name from modern society. Without question, there are two diverse perspectives of Christ.
At first glance, the biblical story of Jesus’ birth seems to suggest that everyone was awaiting deliverance that would be realized after the coming of Messiah (God’s Anointed). But, even in that day, there was diversity of opinion as to what this deliverance would entail. For some, Christ’s coming would mean deliverance from the political tyranny of Rome, while a few focused on prophecies that spoke of deliverance from sin.
In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph met two such people when they traveled to Jerusalem where they would present the baby Jesus before the Lord for circumcision, as required by the Law. There was an old man, Simeon, and an old prophetess, Anna, who understood this baby to be, “A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:32).” They believed He was God’s gift to all who “looked for redemption. (Luke 2:38).”
Certainly, the secular celebration of Christmas has a way of promoting a What’s in it for me? attitude, with its focus on material. But, as Simeon and Anna have shown us, when it comes to Jesus, the benefits of Christ will not be realized first in the physical, material realm. Those who take that perspective will be eternally disappointed.
So, What’s in it for me? We celebrate Jesus, In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14). Jesus told his followers, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10).” To know Jesus is to know God’s forgiveness, peace, purpose, power and plan! What a Gift! What a God!