The True Meaning of Christmas

Meredith Moss

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. . .

Luke 2:8-10

Every year as the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season ramps up, it’s easy to lose sight of what we are really celebrating. Traditions form, memories are made, and the sentimentality tied to these patterns we’ve created can cause us to lose focus. Maybe as you are reading this devotional, your mind is distracted by all the sights and sounds of the holidays, the crazy schedule to follow, or the never-ending list of last-minute chores to complete. There are gifts to buy and special meals to prepare. No matter where your mind is taking you, today’s Scripture passage is a powerful reminder to hit the reset button, be still, and remember the true meaning of Christmas.

Take a Break from Busy

Sure, a majority of us know the true meaning of Christmas, but how quickly we forget to act like we know it. Let’s stop and rest in Luke 2:8-10. If you have a quiet place you like to sit and read your Bible, go there. Or find a spot nearby where you can relax, take a few deep breaths, and ponder the scene and message of this first Christmas night. Whether you’ve read this passage hundreds of times or this is your first time, let’s be still together and relish the joy. Read the verses above, then close your eyes and let it soak in.

It was a quiet night. The only lights twinkling were the stars. The shepherds were doing their job caring for the sheep. It was just like any other night on the job—until it wasn’t.

An angel of the Lord came before the shepherds and the glory of the Lord shone around them. This angel had a message to share, a life-changing message: “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. . .”

Receive the Joy

Can you imagine? The glory of the Lord coming to you right where you are and lighting up your life with the best news you’ve ever heard! Hopefully you can, because this good news is for us, too. The angel said this great joy will be for ALL the people. Luke 2:11 tells us this good news is the birth of Jesus our Savior. The shepherds did nothing to earn such a gift, and neither have we. Jesus came for all of us. Anyone can freely accept Jesus’s gift of joy and salvation right where he or she is. That’s the best news EVER!

So, when you start feeling yourself getting pulled into the holiday crazy, remember the first Christmas and what it’s really all about. There were no Christmas traditions, extravagant decorations, or long lists of gifts to buy. It was quaint and quiet. The shepherds, doing what they always did, were changed forever by the Lord and His love. Now that’s a Christmas to remember.

Now What?

Prayerfully examine your Christmas to-do list. How much of it brings glory to the name of Jesus? Do you celebrate His birth by giving Him gifts, or have worldly traditions crept in to replace Him? Ask the Lord how to make changes that bring the focus back on Jesus.