What Christmas is All About

For someone who finds it difficult to imagine how big one square meter is (yes, that’s how bad I am with Math), I was blown away with what I read in a science magazine — that approximately 1,000,000 (1 Million) earth size planets can fit into our sun. Honestly, I found great diffciulty in trying to wrap my mind around this reality. Graphically, I could not picture it in my mind. A million earth-sized planets? How big could our sun be?

Then I was completely floored when my wife told me that our sun is considered only as an average-sized sun. If this is true, can you imagine how big a giant-sized sun would be?

Now, consider further that if our sun is just one of the billions of stars in the milky way galaxy and that there are billions of galaxies in our universe. Can you imagine how big our universe is?

Perhaps this kind of thinking led a bunch of atheistic scientists aboard a space shuttle some decades ago to arrive at one unanimous conclusion: Gazing at the expansive and seemingly endless space before them, they all concluded, albeit hesitatingly, that for such a massive and unthinkable reality, there has to be a Creator out there, somewhere, somehow. And this Creator, they argued, has to be far bigger than what he created.

But this unthinkable conclusion, isn’t the most remarkable.

You see, this big, massive, large, colossal, and immensely-huge Creator they referred to, isn’t an impersonal force confined in the heavens, like an over-stuffed giant ala “Jack and the Beanstalk” perched idly on the clouds gleefully observing our day-to-day mundane and pitiful existence.

Two thousand years ago, in one ordinary and cold December evening, this enormously huge and powerful Creator, moved by so much love for His creation, dismounted his throne in the heavens and quitely slipped into human history, enveloped himself in human flesh — bald and toothless with a chubby cheek and stubby fingers and toes and all — wrapped in swaddling clothes, in a stingy stable, in a prickly manger, surrounded, not with glory, but with animal manure, and made Himself completely vulnerable to the unavoidable discomfort attached to our distressful human condition in this hopelessly fallen world.

That is what Christmas Day is all about.

It is not about a chubby guy on a red suit. Or about Frosty. Or about mommy waiting for her kiss under the mistletoe. Or about your 13th month pay. Or reunions with old friends. Not even about long awaited family get-togethers.

The aforementioned are not bad things, mind you. But they do not make Christmas, Christmas.

Christmas is about the extraordinary becoming ordinary. It is about the glorious becoming plain. The pristine becoming sullen. The untouchable becoming an arms-reach away.

This is about a big God becoming small for you and me.

So the next time you hear “Jingle Bells” booming through the mall speakers, pause for awhile and remind yourself of what Christmas is all about.

It is all about Jesus. And He is Emmanuel — God is with us!

A blessed Christmas to all of you!


Embracing the Power of the Cross

Many people today gravitate towards a certain kind of preaching — the one that focuses on the promises of the cross of Christ. These promises —- salvation, fullness of life, fulfillment, contentment, abundance, good health etc. — are clearly part of God’s agenda for our lives. And we have all the right to expect them from a generous and a loving God.

            But that “feel good” brand of Christianity is just one side of the coin.

            On the other hand, there is also a great need to preach about the pain of the cross of Christ. The pain of Christ’s cross includes the need for sacrifice, repentance, acceptance and suffering. Christ never preached a “bed of roses” Christianity. He, Himself, had to go through the pain of the cross before He reaped its promises. He had to endure Good Friday before he triumphed on Easter Sunday. This is the story of our faith. This is the story of each and every person who chooses to follow the way of our Savior.

            I know of a very good woman who is beset with an incurable illness. Her faith in the good Lord is unquestionable. Her dedication to her Master is doubtless. Her commitment to her Savior is infallible. One time, someone who subscribed to the “feel good” Christianity mindset sincerely but carelessly remarked to her, “Maybe you don’t have enough faith that you will get healed…”.

            Unfair? Unjust? Insensitive?

            For how can one equate one’s fate with one’s faith? Isn’t God free to decide independent of our will? Can He not choose to allow pain to come into our lives if He knows it will bring us closer to heaven? Our role is not to dictate on God with the use of our faith but for us to dictate on our faith for the use of our God.

            Rick Warren, author of the book “Purpose Driven Life”, once said: God is after your character more than your comfort.

            Remember this: We need to embrace both the promises as well as the pain of the cross in order to receive its power. And only then will we know what it truly means to be a Christian.