Christmas is a much beloved holiday for people around the world. Even nonbelievers partake in the holiday, and, in general, whether people believe in God or not, this time of year is often associated with kindness, mercy, compassion, generosity, and a whole host of other good things of which this world needs more.
Of course, for Christians, this holiday is even more meaningful. We are celebrating the birth of our Lord and savior. We believe that Jesus is the living God, meaning that he was God come to Earth in the flesh, a supreme being, living and interacting with us mere mortals. His very birth was miraculous as he was born to a virgin. That same birth was unbelievably humble given who Jesus is. He was born in a stable amongst farm animals and not with all the pomp and circumstance that you might expect to be associated with a king and a god.
Jesus lived his life as a reflection of his birth. He performed the type of miracles expected of a god but lived a meager lifestyle. In some ways the animals he was born alongside had it better than him.
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” – Luke 9:58
There are so many lessons we can take from Jesus’ life, but more importantly, we can also take purpose from his life. Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected. Even though he still lives, he is no longer here with us in the flesh. He is with the Father waiting for his time to return. While the impact of his life can still be felt, it’s true that the man is no longer walking amongst us. That means that he’s not able to do all the good that he did by existing amongst us in the flesh.
That’s where we believers come in. We Christians are supposed to fill in for Jesus while he is away. We are supposed to be his representatives.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. – Ephesians 2:10
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9
It may sound like a tall order for us to try and represent God in the flesh. None of us are able to turn a few scraps into enough food to feed thousands or raise the dead with a touch or cure disease simply by having people believe in us, so our ability to imitate Jesus is limited for sure. Thankfully, that’s not what the Bible is talking about when it says we should represent Jesus.
We are supposed to be symbols to the world of what God wants from mankind. We are supposed to show in both words and actions what a godly person really looks like.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. – Matthew 5:14-16
Yes, Jesus performed miracles, and we can’t do any of that, certainly not without some help from God himself. Jesus also showed love to his fellow people. He shared God’s Word. He was patient and kind. He was slow to anger and refrained from being judgmental. He cared about the people around him regardless of gender, race, nationality, etc… He didn’t knock sinners down. He broke bread with them and tried to help them up. He sacrificed so that everyone else could live more abundantly. All of those are things we can do or be.
We don’t have to be able to perform miracles like Jesus did or be perfect like he was to act as his representatives. No single one of us even has to exhibit all his qualities or characteristics. The one advantage we have is that there is power in numbers. No one Christian has to be everything or do everything.
For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. – Romans 12:4-5
Together we can be what God needs us to be. If we all do our part, Jesus will have a quality representative on the Earth, and his body will continue to grow. If Christians were able to create a holiday celebrating Christ’s birth that is so wonderful that even nonbelievers want to partake in it, then maybe Jesus’ representatives will be able to show the world how good believing in God and living according to His will can be, and maybe then those same nonbelievers will want to partake in that too.