Christmas can do things to us that make us all a little crazy. For a month or so every winter, numerous Christ-followers and individual churches shift it in to high gear and enter the insane holiday frenzy. We also see decorations go up on houses, in neighborhoods, and throughout entire cities. We hear the same 10 to 20 Christmas songs played over and over on every radio channel, Christmas movies and shows are replayed several times daily, to-do lists grow longer, to-buy lists grow longer, bank accounts get emptied, credit cards get maxed out, turkeys are stuffed, hams are glazed, presents are exchanged, gay apparel is donned, and extravagant parties are thrown and attended.
Somewhere in all the noise and busyness, we might hear Jesus’ name briefly mentioned or capture a touch of His glory. You see, it’s not that He isn’t there; sometimes His presence is just hard to perceive in the middle of all the distractions.
And what’s ironic is that the very essence of Christmas is precisely that – Jesus’ presence.
We lift up our voices and sing, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and remember that this name, spoken by Isaiah some 700 years prior to the birth of Christ, means “God with us.” Isaiah prophesied of the coming of a child who would be born from a virgin and would live on earth as God incarnate (God in the flesh) and then sacrificially die to pay the penalty for our sins (Isa. 7:14; 53:5), making it possible for us to enjoy His presence forever.
However, it is important that we recognize God’s interest in relationship with mankind was not limited to a short period of history that took place over 2,000 years ago. Scripture makes it very clear that this “divine focus” extends way beyond Christ’s 33 or so years on earth – all the way from creation through eternity.