Sometimes I get frustrated about how we Christians treat the Bible around Christmastime. If that sounds awful, well, it’s because it might well be. Think about it: many of us know the beats of the Christmas story so well that we don’t actually have to go look them up in Scripture. We see and hear the same Bible verses related to the promise of Jesus’s birth all over social media, books, sermons, and music. And that’s actually the source of my frustration. We have conditioned ourselves to think about only certain verses of the Bible as being the “Christmas” ones—the verses about Jesus being born and the promises of His coming as a baby (Isaiah 53; Micah 5:2). But one of the things I love about the Bible and adore about the gospel is that the promise of Christmas isn’t limited to a handful of passages. It is all over the Bible, waiting for us to see it.
It’s in Isaiah’s promise of salvation for God’s people that God would answer “in a time of favor” and help “in the day of salvation” (Isaiah 49:8). The fulfillment of this promise began the day Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, through Mary’s pregnancy, and goes beyond Jesus’s birth. Whenever He ate with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:11) and proclaimed good news to the poor, freedom for the captives, and healing and sight to the blind (Luke 4:18), He was doing what He was born to do.
But one verse that I find absolutely life-giving at Christmastime is this: “For the Son of Man has come to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). This is, in so many ways, the heart of the matter, the reason why Christmas is even a thing. God sent Jesus into the world to seek and save the lost—people like you and me. People who were blind and trapped in captivity to sin. He came for people who were, from a spiritual perspective, about as bad as bad can be, even if we looked good on the outside—people so blind that we didn’t even know we were blind!
And yet Jesus came to seek us and save us. He came to rescue us from sin and from ourselves. And Christmas is the start of that, which means Christmas should be celebrated as more than our Savior’s birth. It’s also a time to look forward to what is yet to come: the day when Jesus returns to make all things new and put an end to sin forevermore. It’s a time to anticipate when we will join with a great multitude in responding to the words of Isaiah: “Shout for joy, you heavens! Earth, rejoice! Mountains break into joyful shouts! For the Lord has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted ones” (Isaiah 49:13).
Written by Aaron Armstrong