More than any other time, I love Christmas! Perhaps it is because I was born in December. Perhaps it is because I have fond memories of growing up in Ohio sipping warm chocolate overlooking mounds of lake-effect snow. Perhaps it is because it is one of the few times each year when my wife and I can have all of our children together under one roof again. But I love Christmas!
Indeed, after the holidays are over, and the kids board their planes to return home, there is a sense of sobering quiet as the house returns to its “empty nest” status and life goes on. But for a few weeks, the hustle and bustle of Christmas is here, and I love it!
Christmas is the time of year when we concentrate on the advent of our Messiah. God became flesh and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus Christ. Christmas is that time when Christ came to visit us, and we are eternally grateful that He did. Matthew begins His Gospel account by reminding us that Jesus was “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).
But if the Gospel of Matthew begins with a heavenly announcement from the angel of the Lord (1:20), let us never forget that the Gospel ends the same way (28:2). And the same Gospel that begins with the wise men rejoicing over the star in the sky (2:10) ends with the women rejoicing over the emptiness of the tomb (28:8). And while it is true that Christmas is that time when Christ came to earth, let us never forget that Matthew ends his account by telling us that Jesus is with us always even unto the end of the world (28:20). Amen!
If Christmas reminds us that Jesus came, Easter reminds us that Jesus is still here! There is a sense in which He came and never left. That being the case, several things inevitably follow:
We have a message to share
The angel told the women at the tomb to go quickly and tell the news of Christ’s resurrection. They summarily obeyed and ran to tell others what they knew to be true (Matthew 28:7-8). Jesus is still here! This news cannot be kept under hat. At this Christmas season, let us seize opportunities to remind others that they can meet Jesus for themselves.
We have joy to experience
The ladies left the tomb with great joy (Matthew 28:8), and when they met the risen Christ on their way home, He greeted them with the very term that is translated “rejoice” consistently throughout the New Testament (28:9). We get excited about the fact that relatives are coming for the holidays. Let us remain excited because Jesus never goes away.
We have peace to comfort
The angel tells the women at the tomb not to fear (28:5) and this admonition is repeated by Jesus Himself (28:10). The presence of Christ is designed to give us peace. The prince of peace has come and stayed. His peace is a result of His continuing spirit living in us (Galatians 5:22). Peace on earth is not merely a cliché found on Christmas cards; it is a settled truth to those whose mind is stayed on Christ (Isaiah 26:3).
We have worship to offer
Because Christ is alive, at any moment we can fall at His feet and render Him the praise of which He is so worthy. The ladies who left the tomb that first Easter morning prostrated themselves before Christ and worshipped the risen Lord (28:9). We do not have to settle for worshipping Christ on holidays and holy days. We can worship Christ every day because He is always with us. Fall at His feet again and tell Him what you think of Him!
We have a family to embrace
Jesus lets the women know that He will be in the midst of His disciples, men that He chooses to call “brothers” (28:10). To be sure, He is the Elder Brother (Romans 8:29), but in marvelous condescension, he allows us to be joint-heirs with Himself (Romans 8:17). There is a marvelous fraternity among the people of God. What a family! And it is our privilege whenever a few of us get together to know that He is there (Matthew 18:20).
So regardless of what else is going on this Christmas season, remember this – the One who came that first Christmas never left. The first Easter reminds us that He is still here. His mother and stepfather knocked on the door of the inn and found no admission (Luke 2:7). But He’s still here and still knocking, you know – knocking at the heart’s door (Revelation 3:20). Let him in!