One of the statements that are usually heard during Christmas is the Christmas spirit. We say, “We need to have the Christmas spirit,” but what is the true spirit of Christmas? Is the spirit of Christmas giving gifts? Is it conveying statements or greetings of well being and prosperity? Is it fun or fellowship?
To find the answer to this question, I believe there is no better place to go to but the Bible, where Christmas originated. Now, when we talk about the Bible, it may seem to many that it contains fictional stories – but looking at it closely and investigating, the Bible is a historical book and, when tested under the same standards as any historical documents, it is very reliable – more reliable. In fact, with thousands of manuscript evidences available. So, the accounts written in the four gospels about the Christmas story are in fact eye witness accounts verified by people who lived during their time, knowing that many accounts about and related to Jesus were written but not everything were accepted by Jesus’ contemporaries and the people who surrounded Him.
From these accounts, based on the reactions of people towards the birth of Christ, we can find the true spirit of Christmas. Below is a list of the reactions.
1. Elizabeth (Luke 1:41-42) – “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!””
2. Zacharias/Zechariah (Luke 1:67) – “His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied: 68″Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has come and has redeemed His people.””
3. Angels (Luke 2:13-14) – “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14″Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.””
4. Shepherds (Luke 2:20) – “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
5. Simeon (Luke 2:25-32) – “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: 29″Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You now dismiss your servant in peace. 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 31which You have prepared in the sight of all people, 32a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to Your people Israel.””
6. Anna (Luke 2:36-38) – “There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
7. Magi (Matthew 2:2) – “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
8. Mary (Luke 1:46-55) – “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49for the Mighty One has done great things for meÃ¢â‚¬â€ holy is His name. 50His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. 51He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55to Abraham and His descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers.””
From these reactions, we see a common attitude and that is the attitude of worship. That is the true spirit of Christmas – worship. Because even as Jesus came to earth as a baby, other gospel and old testament accounts declare Him as the Savior, Emmanuel (God with us), and King and He deserves our worship. Let us take time this season to reflect on these and worship Him.