What is the True Meaning of Christmas?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
*This post was originally published 12/17/15 but has now been revised, updated, and re-published. 

I've been having so much fun lately with the Christmas lights, the happy overload of both Christmas cookies and Christmas music, and the wonderfully bad, low-budget Christmas movies. I am officially in Kristin-Christmas-Tradition-Heaven.

It's such a great feeling to truly enjoy all of the holiday scents, tastes, noises, and sights. I get warm-fuzzies every time I think about it. And even though I'm thankful for those things, at some point, the warm-fuzzies that are caused by small, fairly-unimportant things have to take a step back. Because at the core what we really need is a deep reflection on the true meaning of Christmas.

And as a little disclaimer, it is entirely possible to have fun and reflect on the deeper things of life at the same time. In my pondering and celebrating the real meaning of Christmas, I will still be eating just as many cookies, singing just as many songs, and watching just as many Christmas movies. But while doing this, I will make sure that the more important things in life come first- while the silly things come second.



"Jesus is the reason for the season". This is very true.

But I am sure you've heard that a million times and you may be thinking, "Yeah, but what does that mean...what does it really mean?"


Well, the story of Jesus' birth is found in Luke 2 in the Bible. If you've never read it, or you need a refresher, you can read it here.

You see, a lot of people "know" that Christmas is about Jesus- a little baby who was called the son of God, and born in a stable. Great. But many people don't go past that.

The thing is though, it's when you go past the basics that you truly begin to understand the meaning of Christmas. Go past the fact that Jesus was born to a young girl who had never had sex. Go past what you know about wise men, bright stars, and a feeding trough for a bed. Then you will start to see the point of this beautiful holiday season!

And what is the point?

Guilt and Love

The point is, from the very beginning of our lives, we are sinful people. We aren't innocent. We aren't good enough. We make mistakes every day that pull us further and further away from God.

But since God loves us, He wanted to bring us back to Him. He is a holy God though, so He couldn't just act like our sin was acceptable- because it's not. He needed a perfect person to take the punishment we deserved. And what is that punishment? Death. Not just a typical death either. No, an eternal death.

God knew that if He didn't step in, our sin would keep us from Him and His love for eternity. So God sent Jesus.

But why? What could a baby do?


Complete Perfection

Well, as baby Jesus grew up, He never sinned. He was human, and yet He was God at the very same time. He stood firm against the sins that we give into. He was the only perfect person.

So when the Jews decided to kill Jesus, they were killing a perfect, spotless man.

God planned the death of Jesus as a sacrifice for all sin. Jesus took our death sentence and He served it Himself. But since He had the power of God living in Him (because He is God), He was actually able to defeat the death sentence He was serving for us.

Now no one has to pay the penalty of sin- Jesus already did.

God did all of the work. The only thing He requires of us is that we believe and trust in Jesus as the savior- that His death paid the full penalty of our sins just like God said it did. All we have to do is trust in Jesus and His blood as the saving grace we desperately needed.

That is the gospel in a nutshell, and the gospel is what Christmas is all about.

It's not about how many wisemen went to see Jesus when He was born. It's not even about the fact that Jesus' mom was a virgin (though that is important). No, Christmas is about a Savior- the only Savior- who came to live, die, and defeat death for us. Christmas is about God's goodness, despite our utter and constant failure.
Christmas is about the cross.



Check Your Response

Christmas is a humbling experience.
But please, don't get all caught up in how you don't like being told you are a sinner. I don't like it either, but it's true.

I tell half-truths or occasionally even lie. I look out for myself instead of others. I care far too much about my weight, my curves, my personality, and other people's opinions. I try to one-up other people so that I can be the best. I complain about nearly everything that doesn't go my way.

And chances are, you do the same things. You and I are imperfect people, in need of a Savior.

So check your response. Don't be mad that God confronts you and your sin. Instead, be thankful that you don't have to serve your death sentence. Accept Jesus as the Savior He is. Spend Christmas with new-found joy that you don't have to be hand-cuffed to your sin anymore.

Christmas is about praising God because He gave us what we needed. God is love. That is what Christmas is really about!


45 comments

  1. This is so true. I get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that I forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. This is so easy to do, Greta! You are not alone. Just something we all need to improve upon :)

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  2. I love Christmas time so much. To me it is a time of joy and happiness.

    xoxo, Jenny

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  3. My parents always make it a point to remind us the real reason for the season. I hope to pass this on to my kids when I have them.

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  4. Beautiful post! I think sometimes we tend to forget what Christmas is truly about and get caught up in the glitz and glamour. I'll be honest when I say that I have been guilty for that. Thank you for the wonderful reminder.

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  5. It's such a special time, and so important to remember the reason behind it!

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  6. This was a great read! I know I am often guilty of forgetting the real reason why we celebrate Christmas and I know a lot of others do to. It's easy to get caught up with all the decorating and shopping. My dad always reads the story of Jesus' birth before we open presents on Christmas. It's a great reminder.

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  7. My first-ever Christmas in Malaysia, the Christmas performance at church was about the crucifixion and resurrection. As a 13 year old at the time, I thought that was strange, but over the years, I've come to love that--we celebrate Christmas because of the cross--sacrifice was the whole reason Jesus came!

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    1. That is so cool! I love that you had that experience! But I can totally understand it seeming strange at that age. It is so beautiful when we see people celebrating Christmas the way it was intended <3

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  8. I once had a pastor say, "I don't serve a baby in a manger; I serve a King on a throne." Christmas is 100% about the cross, and I just love this post! Beautiful job, Kristin!

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    1. Thank you so much, Abbey! And yes, that is a great quote from that pastor! I like it a lot!

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  9. I dont know why but the word sinner just sounds so judgmental and dirty to me. I prefer to think we are flaws and have made mistakes, but they don't define us. The word sinner sounds too much like a definition of a person.

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

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    1. I totally get what you are saying. The thing about Christianity is that if we don't see that we are sinners (or flawed) there's really no reason for Jesus to come and die for us.
      Sin only means we aren't perfect, and since God is perfect we need someone to cover our flaws-and in comes Jesus.
      So when I say "sinner", I simply mean we do bad things. It's not a judgement from me. It's just what I believe about the human condition as a whole. Does that make sense?
      And honestly, I believe my sin IS dirty. But in the very same moment, they DON'T define me because God provided forgiveness for me.
      :) So even though I think I am worthy of judgement, I also know that my loving God covered my butt. Hopefully that makes more sense- because I definitely was not point my finger at you (or anyone) saying "You stupid, evil person!". haha. Hopefully it didn't come across in that light.

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    2. Yeah I get it and know all of that (and love your disclaimer at the end! I didn't think you were! haha). I just never could get behind it all. When I was little my best friend was actually Southern Baptist and I would go to hebrew school saturday and church and sunday school with her most weekends. I just never could get into the language/belief system of Christianity despite the fact I LOVED going to church. I see how many people feel judged or repressed by their religions language and it breaks my heart. It's cool that you call Him your loving God - I still believe in a loving God too, i just have had a very different experience/relationship with with my faith and have a hard time seeing the Christian God as a loving God for my person and my family and many of my friends.

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    3. Yeah, I can understand that. I do believe that any appearance of God not being loving is false, but I still get where you are coming from.
      How interesting that you still enjoyed going to church with her!

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  10. I love all the fluffy stuff of Christmas too, but yes!! That last line before the quote from Mary, Did You Know? (I'm assuming that's the song, at least) is so true!

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    1. Oh don't get me wrong- I LOVE FLUFF!!!! haha. Yes, it was the song <3

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  11. What a great reminder. It's so easy to get caught up in the stress of the season, but we need to remember why we celebrate to begin with.

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  12. Love this! My favorite Christmas song is 'Born in Bethlehem.' It says, 'Baby Jesus, do You know You'll die for all our sins? Don't be afraid for in three days You will rise again. Hallelujah, the King is here. Given for all men. For today the holy son of God Is born in Bethlehem,'
    It's so good and I feel like it fits your post perfectly.

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  13. Its always good to stop and remember the reason for Christmas and the good things other than material

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  14. Such a great reminder of the importance of this season. Thank you!

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  15. I'm sometimes guilty of overlooking what the true meaning of Christmas is, especially amidst all the holiday sales. Thank you for reminding me WHO is the center of this season, and be grateful just to be surrounded by the people we love.

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    1. I think we are all guilty of that sometimes. But we can always start again and refocus :)

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  16. Great reminders! Definitely need to think about these things more throughout the holiday season - it's so easy to get caught up in everything! Thanks for sharing :)

    Sarah Bell
    Trendy & Tidy

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    1. It really is so easy to sweep it under the rug unintentionally!

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  17. It's so easy to get caught up in the commercial hype that is thrown at us during the Christmas season. We are by far not perfect and this post was beautiful! You are a wonderful witness to the truth!

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    1. Thank you, Becca! I appreciate that!

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  18. Love this, thank you for sharing the scriptures with us. Mary did you know if my fave!

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    1. I love it too (especially the Pentatonix version)!

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  19. im not really a very religious person but this was interesting to read! I didn't know much about the real reason for Christmas...

    -Stefanie
    http://www.thestylesafari.com

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    1. So glad you took the time to read. I know it can be an interesting concept if you are not used to it, but I appreciate you reading and giving it a chance.

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  20. Some people do not like to be told they are sinners. It's okay though because we all sin. This is a great reminder of what the holiday season is all about. Don't get me wrong everything else is great and fun about the holidays but we need to remember the real reason behind Christmas. Love this!!

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    1. Yeah. It's true. Many people do not like that. And I get it. I wouldn't like it very much either if I didn't know Jesus.
      Thank you for reading and I am so glad you enjoyed it, Mistle!

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  21. I love Christmas and I view it as one big birthday party for Jesus.

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  22. This is wonderful! The most important response is belief. Belief that He is God and that HE came to die for our disobedience. We can never live a perfect life, but His goodness and righteousness covers our flawed nature, transgressions, if we ultimately believe (trust) Him to remove them, HE will - as far as the East is from the West.

    His shed blood at Calvary covers our sins ( and yes, they are sins) - because we fall short of the glory of God. There is no imperfection allowed in Heaven, but because of Calvary and what HE did for us there, when we do trust Him as saviour, HE can no longer see our sins, and that makes us "good enough" for heaven!

    WOOOO HOOOO!!!!

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  23. I am not a very religious person but this was beautiful! Thank you!

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  24. THIS year more than any in the past, I have really tried to stay focused on the "why" of Christmas. Peel away all the glitz and feel good, and just rest in the why? It has really been wonderful; and humbling. Yes, we can celebrate with all of the traditional trappings of the season, but ultimately, we have to come back to our desperate need of the cross, and God's unfathomable love. If not, it is all a waste. Thanks for this, and Merry Christmas

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