Christmas Changes Everything
We love Christmas movies because their fictional narratives connect to the truth of advent. They speak of hope, peace, joy, and love. As a people, we keep creating, watching, and re-watching these stories because the original Christmas story is imprinted on our hearts.
The true story of Christmas is the story of Jesus coming to earth. It is God with us in all our frailty, and it is the story that changed and continues to change everything for mankind.
Because of Christ hard hearts become new, outcasts and orphans find a home, and the impossible becomes possible.
Hard hearts become new.
We love to see the transformations that take place because of Christmas: Scrooge becomes a new man, the Grinch’s heart grows three sizes, and the city lawyer who only cares about her business gains a new perspective while working on her recently inherited country inn.
These fictional Christmas stories point us back to the truth of the transformative power of the presence of Jesus.
Saul was the ultimate Grinch, and Acts 9:1-5 tells the story of how his heart was transformed by an encounter with Jesus.
Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers.[a] So he went to the high priest. 2 He requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation in the arrest of any followers of the Way he found there. He wanted to bring them—both men and women—back to Jerusalem in chains.
3 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”
5 “Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.
And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!
Saul was a man who knew and loved Jewish law. He was highly educated and passionate about his beliefs. He had all the religious knowledge in the world, yet his heart was still hard. But when Christ came to him, he was transformed.
Saul didn’t change because of an intellectual argument; he knew the scriptures. Saul didn’t need help following the rules so he could be good enough for God. He was the enforcer of the religious rules. He needed to experience the presence of God. He needed Jesus to come to him.
Saul was so changed by his encounter with Jesus on the way to Damascus he couldn’t even be called by the same name. He was transformed into Paul the apostle and spread the good news of Jesus.
In his letter to the Corinthians, he speaks of the transformative power of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5
17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others.
19 What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace.
If your heart has become hard, take hope. The Christmas story is the story of bringing a way for your heart to be renewed and to become part of bringing peace. Our Christmas movies may be fictional, but their messages of the miraculous transformations that take place because of Christmas and the power of belief ring true.
The orphans and the outcasts find a family.
Our hearts are warmed as we watch the Christmas stories where the outcasts and orphans find homes: Rudolph goes from the misfit to the hero, and Will Ferrel’s Elf finds his true family. He then helps them to find the joy of Christmas and inspires them to believe in the miraculous.
Again, this storyline calls to something deep within us that longs for divine connection and a recognition of our value. The true Christmas story speaks to our worth and calls us to belonging.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
When Jesus came to earth, he answered the question of your worth once and for all. God sent his own son to show his love for you. He spared nothing to show how valuable you are.
Jesus spent his ministry welcoming the outcasts and those who were looked down upon by religious leaders or by society. He showed us again and again that anyone who believes can experience his love and become part of the family of God.
26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
The truth of Christmas is a baby came so that we too can become children of God.
The misfit finds his worth, and the orphan finds a home. Every last person can know they are loved and welcome in the family because of Christmas.
The impossible becomes possible.
I am pretty sure that at least 90% of the Christmas movies out there ask the viewer to have faith and believe in the magic of Christmas.
In It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey’s Angel takes him to an alternate world to see what the town would have been like without him. He learns how much his life means to others, and when he returns to reality, the townspeople provide all the finances he needs at the last minute to save him from arrest and his business from ruin.
Once again, the movies are imitating the truth of Christmas.
There is a supernatural being who can do the miraculous.
Jesus repeatedly took what would seem impossible and made it possible.
Jesus turned water into wine and cast a legion of demons out of a man by just the command of his voice. He healed a woman who doctors had not been able to help for years simply because she touched his robe as he passed by, and he brought Lazarus back to life.
Every last one of those scenarios is impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I don’t know how, and I don’t know why. I simply know it is.
You might say, but those are only stories from a couple thousand years ago, so how can we believe today. I hear you. It is hard to believe. It is hard when life throws us into hopeless situations. When the bank balance is too low, and there is nowhere to get the money, when the medical prognosis tells of the end, the friendship or the marriage falls apart, and you wonder where this God who is supposed to make the impossible possible is. We grow jaded, and we struggle to believe.
I’m not saying God will change your difficult circumstances. But I am saying he is able. But the greater Christmas miracle is the change his presence can bring you in.
Despair becomes hope, anxiety melts away to peace, sorrow learns to embrace joy, and bitterness becomes love.
This is what we were created to experience, and this is why our world continues to echo the story at Christmas. God is calling us to know him and to walk with him. He is calling us to belief beyond our circumstances so we can embrace the hope, peace, joy, and love expressed in the birth of Christ.
Christ’s birth changes everything.
His presence has the power to transform the hardest of hearts. He makes a way for everyone to join the family of God, including the outcasts and the orphans. And he makes the impossible possible.
Christmas changes everything.
Isaiah 9:6 KJV
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
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