A Search for the True Meaning of Christmas

I love the Christmas season and all that it brings. However, if I’m not careful, I can also find myself quickly getting lost in all of the holiday festivities to the point that I completely forget what it is that I’m celebrating in the first place.

Recently, though, two seemingly unrelated Bible stories have played a significant role in helping me stay focused on what this season is all about. The first story is part of a familiar passage that establishes the setting for the entire Christmas narrative. Luke 2:6–7 reads:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

Did you catch that? The magnificent beginning of the redemption story takes place in a humble little manger. This ordinary backdrop not only fulfills Scripture but also helps us remember that the real story is about the people inside the manger and the amazing work God was doing in their lives. What they were surrounded by (the stuff) didn’t matter. Likewise, all of the Christmas trimmings that so easily entangle us are nothing compared to the importance of our relationship with God and with others.

While the first story helps establish the importance of the setting, the second story helps us focus our hearts. We find the story of Mary and Martha only a few chapters later in Luke 10:38–42. It reads:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Can you imagine Mary and Martha suddenly appearing in the manger scene? I can envision Martha looking around in horror at how dirty the place is and hurriedly scurrying around trying to tidy everything up — maybe even baby Jesus. However, I imagine Mary gazing into the eyes of the newborn Savior with a look of wonder and amazement. I picture her gently picking Him up and holding Him close with tears streaming down her cheeks as she is overcome with emotion at the realization that she is holding the eagerly anticipated Messiah in her arms.

More Mary, Less Martha

I don’t know about you, but I want to have a heart like Mary, not only at Christmas, but every day of the year. I want to seek His presence, sit at His feet, and worship Him. I want to be mindful of the fact that the greatest gift I will ever be given is the gift of a Savior who loved me while I was yet a sinner, and He acted on that love by dying a horrible death on the cross to redeem me.

As Christmas quickly approaches, let’s remain mindful that this season is not about all the familiar trappings associated with it. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, let’s remember that there’s so much more to the story. In fact, Christmas is really just the beginning of the redemption story — for without Christmas there is no Easter. Let’s take time to sit at the feet of Jesus, as Mary did, and give Him the worship He deserves.


If you enjoyed this story, please feel free to comment and share. 

You can find additional articles about faith and family at Dawn Benson Jones.

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