The Warfare of the Spirit Chapter 22 – The Meaning of Christmas
Recapturing the Meaning of Christmas
“Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas tonight!”—Phillips Brooks.
That there were in the world multiplied millions who had never heard of Christmas did not matter to our poet for the purpose of his poem. He was expressing an emotional fact, not a statistical one.
Throughout the Western world we tend to follow the poet and approach Christmas emotionally instead of factually. It is the romance of Christmas that gives it its extraordinary appeal to that relatively small number of persons of the earth’s population who regularly celebrate it.
So completely are we carried away by the excitement of this midwinter festival that we are apt to forget that its romantic appeal is the least significant thing about it. The theology of Christmas too easily gets lost under the gay wrappings, yet apart from its theological meaning it really has none at all. A half dozen doctrinally sound carols serve to keep alive the great deep truth of the Incarnation, but aside from these, popular Christmas music is void of any real lasting truth. The English mouse that was not even stirring, the German Tannenbaum so fair and lovely and the American red-nosed reindeer that has nothing to recommend it have pretty well taken over in Christmas poetry and song. These along with merry old St. Nicholas have about displaced Christian theology.
‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’—which means ‘God with us.’ Matthew 1:23
It is not “Santa Clausmas” or “Scroogemas” or “giftmas” or “treemas.” It is Christmas. How critical it is that we put Christ back in Christmas.
You, O Lord, became flesh. You are God with me!