Not everyone celebrates Christmas. And out of all the people who do acknowledge Christmas, not all of them enjoy it. Some people really love Christmas. Some people don’t even like it.
So, who is Christmas actually for?
Is Christmas an American holiday? Is it for wealthy upper-class people? Is it for needy lower-class people? Is it for Christians? Is it for Jews?
Is Christmas for children? Or just strong families?
Again, who is Christmas for?
Looking at Matthew chapter 1 and the story of the birth of Jesus, I see 3 very real answers to this question.
- Christmas is for people who are in awkward situations.
Joseph and Mary were betrothed. This means they were planning to get married, and they had not slept together yet. They were virgins. They were almost married, but not yet. Then one day out of nowhere Mary is pregnant. Again, she had never had sex before. Joseph knows Mary was not pregnant from him. That is an awkward situation. So much so that the Bible says that “her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (1:19) Joseph was crushed. He thought Mary had cheated on him. Can you imagine the word spreading around town? This fine young man, Joseph, had been done wrong by his fiancée. That is an awkward situation. How did this situation come about? God made it happen. God made Mary pregnant. God’s plan to come and save us from our sins included a very awkward situation. Joseph & Mary were in an awkward situation. Christmas, absolutely, is for people who are in awkward situations. This Christmas don’t be ashamed to celebrate Christmas in the midst of some awkwardness. Our Savior King can handle it. Thats what He came for!
- Christmas is for people who are living in sin.
After Joseph gets the awkwardness cleared up by the angel, the angel proceeds to tell Joseph what to name the baby. His name will be Jesus. Many may ask or wonder ‘why did they call his name Jesus?’ The angel goes on to tell us that info too. “you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (1:21) Jesus came because of our sins and for our sins. Sin in our lives is not at all a reason to keep Jesus away. In fact, you could say, our sins are the very reason He came. Christmas is not for people who don’t sin. Not at all. Christmas is for people who sin. “Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Mark 2:17) Again, He came for sinners. This Christmas don’t be afraid to confess your sins and don’t be distant from others who have sins. That is exactly who Christmas is for – those of us who sin!
- Christmas is for people who are lonely.
Jesus is not the only name designated for the savior-child. In 1:23, we are told of another name for Jesus – “Immanuel.” He is given this name because of who He is and because of what this name means. Immanuel means “God with us.” Jesus is God. And Jesus came to us to be with us. We need Him. We need to be with God. In a very real way, all of us are lonely without God. And though we may try various ways to fill that loneliness, we are not able. Ultimately, having Jesus with us is the only way to not be lonely. God knows this. So He came to us. This is precisely what Christmas is all about. Christmas is for lonely people. This Christmas as all of our hurts, struggles and needs seem to become more obvious and visible, please remember that is what and who Christmas is for.
Christmas is a huge holiday! And in short, it is for everyone. Whether people want to embrace Christmas or not is their choice. Either way, it is still for them. Because Christmas is about Jesus coming. And Jesus came to love, forgive and save sinners. And we are all sinners.