Is Something Missing from Your Christmas?

“For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

During Christmas time some years ago, I was at a coffee shop in the Twin Cities area. There was a small group of women studying the Bible together. They were just finishing up and getting ready to leave. I decided to greet and encourage them. Eventually I asked the question, are you all from a local church? They responded, “Yes, we are from the Church of the Missing Baby Jesus.” I was a bit confused and thought, “What kind of church could this be? It sure seems like a strange name for a church.” Then they realized by the puzzled look on my face, what they said could be very misconstrued. They said, “Oh dear, I know what you’re probably thinking. No, that’s not the name of our church! We are from a local Lutheran church. We just thought you might have heard in the news that we had the baby Jesus figure stolen from the manger scene in front of our church.” We all began to laugh. I told them I had really began to wonder what kind of church would be focused on a “missing baby Jesus.”

This funny little experience sparked something in my thoughts. We call this time of year “Christmas” but often the “Christ” is missing from our Christmas celebrations. It would seem obvious that reason we celebrate Christmas is because we are celebrating the Christ-child, Jesus, who came to earth to save us from our sin. What kind of church would it be if it was missing Jesus as its central focus? I would contend that it would not be a church at all. So many in our world “celebrate” Christmas, but they completely miss Jesus in the celebration. We focus on gift giving to each other, Santa Claus, lights, trees, decorations, food, and family togetherness (until a fight breaks out). But why do we miss Jesus as the central person of our celebration? We may as well call ourselves the “people of the missing baby Jesus.”

Many missed the significance of the baby Jesus when He came to this earth. He was born in a stable or cave because there was no room for Him. He was born to a poor family from the despised area of Nazareth. His birth was announced to some lowly shepherds. This was hardly a birth fit for a king. No one expected this Messiah, one who was born in such humble circumstances, yet He came to live a perfect, sinless life. He would come and heal the broken, to set free those who were captive to sin and evil. Eventually, He would die a costly death on a Roman cross. He came as a sacrifice to die in our place. He then rose from the dead to conquer sin and death and now sits in a place of supreme authority. Jesus now gives us the opportunity to be a part of His new Kingdom to bring forgiveness for sin and life eternal for all who place their faith in Him.

The prophet Isaiah spoke about this child to come in the Bible verse above. He was clear about what kind of child this would be and that His name would reflect His character. Jesus is a ruling King called, “Wonderful Counselor,” wise in all of His ways. He is “Mighty God,” a powerful God-Man who is mighty to save. He is “Eternal Father,” the benevolent and caring Father, who is without beginning or end and offers eternal life to humankind. He is “Prince of Peace,” one who reigns supreme and brings ultimate peace to those who place their faith and trust in Him as their Lord and Savior. He is worthy of our honor and the focus of our lives and celebration.
Is there something missing from your Christmas? Don’t miss the most important part—Jesus Himself. No one else can give you peace in your heart, forgiveness for your sin, and life eternal. Don’t miss the true Hope of this world this Christmas.
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Pastor Mark Anderson