Truth or tradition?
Truth and tradition have usually been in contention. And this is especially true when it comes to the subject of Christmas.
Christmas is a season full of traditions, from Santa Claus to Rudolph the reindeer, to Christmas trees. These are harmless and happy traditions, except when they push the truth out of Christmas.
The truth is that Christmas is the invention of God. By ‘Christmas’ I don’t mean December 25, but the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Saviour of the world.
God planned this event in all its details. He prophesied it in the Old Testament and then brought it about at exactly the time he wanted. ‘When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons’ (Galatians 4:4).
John Stott says of this Bible verse, ‘What is emphasised … is that the one whom God sent to accomplish our redemption was perfectly qualified to do so. He was God’s Son. He was also born of a human mother, so that he was human as well as divine, the one and only God-man.’
‘And he was born “under the law”, that is, of a Jewish mother, into the Jewish nation, subject to the Jewish law. Throughout his life he submitted to all the requirements of the law … he perfectly fulfilled the righteousness of the law.
‘So the divinity of Christ, the humanity of Christ and the righteousness of Christ uniquely qualified him to be man’s redeemer.’
This is not tradition, but truth. The traditions of men are pathetic compared with the wonder and glory of such truths. Is there anything more amazing than God becoming man in order to save sinners?
People today have difficulty believing in miracles. While books like Harry Potter always top the sales charts, the Bible’s emphasis upon the supernatural is dismissed as impossible. We think that if we can’t do miracles then neither can God. But God isn’t like us, and nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the Christmas story.
The answer is not in mere tradition, but to get back to the truth about Christ. This isn’t a fairy story; it’s very real. So for us today is the possibility of salvation.
Salvation means being saved from the consequences of our sin. It means being made acceptable to God. Jesus is the Saviour God has provided for us. What God offered that first Christmas, 2000 years ago, he still offers today — and the day of salvation is not yet over!