If people even connect Christmas with Christ, it is often focused on the baby. The baby gives us the warm and fuzzies. We imagine a cute and most of all, clean mother and child. Perhaps we should sing more Justin Bieber, "Baby, baby, baby, Oh!"
No! We should never sing more Bieber!
But what if baby Jesus is not the actual focus of Scripture, not even in the birth narratives?
Like the picture here, do we often apply our own cultural values to the biblical story instead of seeing the cultural values already at play in the biblical narrative. Art often shows this tendency throughout the centuries. But what if the birth narratives have a greater purpose than a baby?
In the ancient times, births were certainly times of celebration but not in the same way American births are celebrated. Birth narratives are shared about adults who did important things. Isaac, Moses, Jacob and Esau, Samuel, and Jesus to name a few in the Bible. These birth narratives are shared to demonstrate more than the mere fact a baby was born. These births and the circumstances surrounding them add to the understanding of what these people did as adults and who they were.
The birth narrative of Jesus demonstrates He did not come in the majesty and honor due Him, but in humility. He completely identifies with humanity. The genealogy of His earthly parents connect His birth to Old Testament prophecy and timing. His birth was not a happenstance during a census, but God used the census and a jealous and insane King Herod to show the fulfillment of these prophetic references.
It's not about the baby. It's about His coming! He has come! God in the flesh! That is why it was heralded by angels as well as by John the Baptist. God is with us! God did not leave us to ourselves, but has come and lived among us. He put on flesh and faced every temptation we face. He defeated those temptations in life and defeated sin in His death on the cross. He defeated death by rising from the tomb on the third day. It is for these things the birth narratives prepare us. It's not about the baby!
Christmas is a celebration of His coming! He offers to come into our lives and transform us. People all over the world can testify that Christmas is about more than the stuff. They can testify to the life-transforming presence of Christ which Christmas celebrates. It's not about Jesus being delivered, but that Jesus delivers us from the power and penalty of sin and death. In fact, for those who believe this, they are reborn and become children of God. If you are reading this, I pray you can celebrate His coming into your heart this Christmas.