Category: Why Christmas? Written by Jim Denison
What does Christmas say about God?
When I was a boy I used to stare up at the clouds and wonder if God was up there. I'm not alone. Every culture known to human history has worshiped some kind of deity.
I've been inside Muslim mosques, Buddhist temples, Hindu shrines, and Jewish synagogues. Whenever I lead study tours to Greece we stop by Mt. Olympus, where Zeus and his fellow gods were thought to live. With so many different versions of God, how can we know which one, if any, is real?
In other words, what does Christmas tell us about God?
During a loud thunderstorm, a small boy asked his parents if he could sleep in their bed. His father assured him that God would take care of him. The boy shook his head and insisted, "I want a God I can see."
We can see the Creator in his creation. If the universe began as a Big Bang, where did the Big Bang come from? If life began as a cell floating in a pool of water, what made the cell?
We can see the Designer in his design. If you were walking along and kicked a rock, you might assume it just happened to be there. But if you later stepped on a watch, you wouldn't think the hands, gears, face, and strap all just happened to fall together at that spot. If you found a watch you would assume there was a watchmaker. Isn't the world infinitely more complex than a watch?
Most of all, we can see the Father in his Son. I have two sons; the more you know them, they more you know about their mother and me.
Jesus revealed his Father everywhere he went. He showed us his Father's power when he walked on water and calmed stormy seas. He showed us his Father's compassion when he fed the hungry, healed the sick, and raised the dead. And he showed us his Father's love when he was born on Christmas Day.
You see, Jesus was the only Child in human history to choose the circumstances of his birth. He chose his parents, the place where he would be born, and the first people to visit him after his birth.
If you had been able to choose you parents, would you have selected people of great wealth, status, and power? Jesus chose peasants from a town so small it's not mentioned even once in the Old Testament.
If you had chosen the place of your birth, would you have selected a sterile hospital in a major city with the best medical care? Jesus chose a cave beneath a roadside hotel. When he was born, his mother wrapped him in rough, peasant clothes. Then his father laid him in a dirty, stone feed trough.
If you had chosen the first people to visit you, would you have selected famous athletes and celebrities? Jesus chose grimy field hands. They weren't allowed into a synagogue to worship or a courtroom to testify, but they were invited to meet the Son of God.
What does Christmas say about God? We couldn't climb up to him, so he climbed down to us. I once read about an elderly scholar who surprised his colleagues by becoming a Christian. They asked him what led to his decision.
He told them that it was as if he had fallen into the bottom of a deep, abandoned well. A Buddhist priest came by and told him that if he ceased his wrong desires he would cease to suffer in the well, then he went on. A Hindu guru told him if he was faithful where he was, in the next life he would escape the well; then the Hindu went on. A Muslim imam told him that it was the will of Allah for him to be in the well, and the Muslim went on. A Confucian teacher told him if he had not tripped he would not be in the well, and the Confucian went on.
Then Jesus saw him in the well, and climbed down into the well with him. "That," he said, "is why I'm a Christian."
What does Christmas tell us about God? Martin Luther said we could condense the entire Bible down to this single sentence: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16). Ask him to forgive your mistakes and failures, and turn your life over to him as your Lord and King. Then tell a Christian what you've done. And the Christ of Christmas will show you that God is real when you meet him for yourself.
In 1966, Time magazine ran a controversial cover story asking, "Is God Dead?" Someone asked Billy Graham what he thought about the debate. Dr. Graham smiled and said, "I can assure you he's not dead—I talked with him today."
So can you.