How can we teach children the true meaning of Christmas based upon what the Bible teaches about the coming of Christ?
What Christmas is Not
Christmas has become so commercialized that many people dread its coming. People go into debt to buy things to impress people with gifts they may not need and the focus is on getting rather than what we received two thousand years ago. One person told me that if you rearrange the letter in Santa’s name you come up with Satan but my point here is first to show what Christmas is not before we go into what we can teach children about the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas doesn’t really have to do with shopping, gifts, parties, reindeer and certainly Santa Clause. It’s not about what we get but about what God has given.
Jesus and the Images of Christmas
There is symbolic meaning in many of the images of Christmas like the star that sits atop the Christmas tree represents the Star of David and also the star that led the wise men to the birthplace of Jesus. In Revelation 22:16 it says “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The candle points to Jesus saying “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). The Christmas tree, typically a Fir tree points upward to heaven just like a church steeple, pointing to the God of glory and the fact that it stays green even in the dead of winter symbolizes that “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and like the “ever green” tree “everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die” (John 11:26). The Christmas wreath, like the wedding ring, reflects the unbroken circle of God’s everlasting love and the offer of eternal life (John 3:16) and even the candy cane pictures the shepherd’s crook that keeps the sheep near the Great Shepherd and the white the righteousness of Christ and the red stripes, the blood that He shed for us and it’s shape is that of a “J” for Jesus Himself.
Jesus’ First and Second Coming
I think we need to point children to the prophecies and the fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s coming from both the Old Testament and the New Testament. These verses can show the true meaning of Jesus coming to this earth and the hope that His coming brought. He was born in humble beginnings but will come back in glorious majesty. He first came as a humble, lowly servant sent by the Father, He will return to judge the world. He first came as Savior, He comes next as Judge. He first came as a Lamb, meek and mild, He comes next as the bold and ferocious Lion of Judah. He first came to seek and to save the lost; He will come again to judge those who rejected Him as Lord. The Bible reveals why He came and how He came and parents, foster parents, grandparents, and anyone associated with children, must use the Bible to reveal the true meaning of Christmas. You cannot go wrong when you use Scripture to teach your children or grandchildren about Jesus Christ.
Bible Verses About Christ
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
The name Immanuel means God with us because when Jesus came to be physically born as a Man and born of a virgin, He divested His Shekinah glory for the body of a Man, and was both God and Man.
John 1:14 “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
This is the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 where Jesus, Who is the Word of God and has always existed, entered human flesh and dwelt among us and John and the other disciples saw His glory and it was the glory of the only Son of God Who came from the Father. He was full of both grace and truth. He always spoke the truth and was full of grace. Truth without grace is brutality; grace without truth is hypocrisy. Jesus was neither; He was both truth and grace because they are incomplete without one other.
Isaiah 9:6a-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.”
Here we see that “a child is born to us” pointing to the humanity of Christ Who was born for “us,” that is for believers; then “a son is given” indicating that He would give His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45b). The increase of the kingdom of God will never end and apparently will continue to expand for all time but so also will there be peace without end. Jesus will sit “on the throne of David over His kingdom” (of which Luke wrote about in 1:32) and will reign “with righteousness from [that] time and forever more (eternity).”
Matthew 1:21 “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”
Matthew records an angel of the Lord telling Joseph that Jesus would be the name of the Lord’s Prophet that had been spoken of in times past and the “virgin (Mary) shall conceive and bear a son” (Jesus) “and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” So the angel quotes Isaiah 7:14 and Jesus’ name portrays His mission; He “will save his people from their sins.” He is still doing that today.
I urge caregivers of children and grandchildren to point people to the true meaning of Christmas and not that which we see in the holiday season and all its trappings, but that which we see in the Scripture for God’s Word is always true and there you can know with certainty that you’ll find the true meaning of Christmas.
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Blind Chance or Intelligent Design available on Amazon.