So many of the Christmas stories we love—both classic and modern—include a character who despises this time of year. Whether it’s the Grinch, Scrooge, or Buddy the Elf’s biological dad, there always seems to be people who hate Christmas.
But as soon as these characters realize what Christmas is really about, their moods change. They realize that Christmas isn’t about what’s wrapped up in packages or in bows, but something much deeper.
In the church, our realization of Christmas is much deeper and more personal. And part of what it means to be a youth worker is guiding teenagers to remember these deeper meanings.
Christmas is about God fulfilling his promises.
Jesus’ birth to a virgin in Bethlehem from the tribe of Judah may not seem like a big deal, but it proves that God keeps His promises. More so, when Mary and Joseph were told about the birth of Jesus, God made them many promises about who Jesus was to become. Mary and Joseph believed that God would follow through with His promises. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of prophecies in His lifetime. God is faithful. His word can be relied upon. This is an important truth our teenagers need to be reminded of.
Christmas is about a miraculous faith.
Again, Mary and Joseph had to really trust that God was going to take care of them. Joseph had every right to leave Mary when she became pregnant, but he trusted that God was taking care of a story that he couldn’t see all the parts to. King Herod, on the other hand, couldn’t see that God was threading a story of salvation, and only saw his own throne being threatened. Can you imagine being born into the world, and people already wanting to kill you? Jesus certainly had some crazy odds and circumstances to overcome, but His parents’ faith in God shaped the story and inspires us to have a faith that also believes that God can do miraculous things.
Christmas is about unconditional love.
God sent Jesus to this world because He is madly in love with us. When I look at the characters of the birth narrative, I see that Mary and Joseph shared in that unconditional love with one another and with God—they had to really love God in order to trust that He had their best interests at heart. The shepherds and Wise Men traveled to see the newborn king because of their love of God—they needed to see the Messiah for themselves.
As we navigate this season and plan our Christmas curriculum, let’s not forget to get to the core of what Christmas is about. And, perhaps your list of what Christmas means is slightly different than mine!
Part of this season is to help students own what Christmas really means to them, so that this season becomes more than White Elephant parties and ugly sweater contests; but a season where God interacts with us by revealing Himself to us through His Son.