Updated: Dec 24, 2021
The hostilities toward the Christian faith are growing. From the rising animosity in this country toward Christian truth claims to the brutalities perpetrated upon those who name the name of Christ abroad, I am convinced that such hostilities reveal a deep-seated fear of those truths represented in the Christmas message.
As modern man lives comfortably in his self-induced slumber, the Spirit of Christmas Past, to borrow from Charles Dickens, awakens him with the blaring trumpet of human history. Upon his arrival, he opens the curtains of time, snatches him from his philosophical comfort zone, and transports him to the distant past. It is there that he witnesses the first promise of a coming redeemer (Genesis 3:15) along with other prophetic declarations like the virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), His birthplace, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), and then His substitutional sin-bearing death upon the cross from the pen of Isaiah (Isaiah 53). The Spirit then drags him at the speed of thought to the actual birth and then death of Jesus only to come to a screeching halt at the dreaded empty tomb. It is there that the resurrection’s factuality becomes convincingly and horrifyingly etched into the immutable past, hence, confirming the divine invasion on that first Christmas morning like nothing else.
History, then, is the unbeliever’s worst nightmare. In fact, it is the historic prophetic utterances coupled with their fulfillment in actual time that declares God’s existence in no uncertain and, obviously, scary terms. While modern men consign God to either nonexistence or irrelevance, that babe in the manger drives God right smack-dab into the ordinary flow of human history. Christmas declares, as did the late Francis Schaeffer, that “God is there, and he is not silent.”
The Spirit of Christmas Present also haunts the enemies of Christ. It is at this time of year, for example, that the sins and the longings of the human heart surface with disturbing intensity. This nagging Spirit magnifies the unbridgeable disconnect between the way things are in our world and the way things “should” be. We hate loneliness, for example, but especially at Christmas. We despise war, greed, hate, injustice, and other reprehensible traits of the human heart that plague us throughout each year, but on this one day we call Christmas, we want things to be as they “should” be.
Finally, the Spirit of Christmas Future arrives. He drags modern man, kicking and screaming, to the very edge of life itself and slowly points him to the one thing that awaits us all — eternity. It reminds him of the chilling fact that instead of falling into the abyss of nothingness at death, every man, as confirmed by the resurrection, will stand before this same Jesus as his righteous judge.
The incarnation, then, lays the constant pressures of history, life, and eternity at modern man's feet, and the more secular he becomes the scarier those realities appear. The birth of this one tiny baby, then, is the unpleasant reminder that God really is there and that he cannot be silenced.
While Christmas can be the scariest time of year for the unbeliever, believers can rejoice in the wisdom and work of God in our behalf. We can bask in his love without fear because we are found in Him.
Will you come to Christ today? Will you douse your fear with saving faith in the substitutionary work of Christ? "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).