“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” — Philippians 2:3-4Read the full passage: Philippians 2:1-11
It seems like just about every Christmas movie has the same question hanging over it. From the time-tested classics to the made-for-TV specials, they tend to focus on the same thing. What is the meaning of Christmas? The main character starts out selfish, materialistic, out of touch. Through a series of events—the loss of a job, the departure of a spouse, or a trip back home—the character comes to realize that Christmas isn’t really about all the presents. It’s about something more.
Then this is where most movies lose me. It’s all well and good to ask what Christmas means, but the answers Hollywood and Hallmark provide are lacking. The main character discovers (always in the last 10 minutes of the movie) that Christmas is about “belief” or “hope” or “family.” These are defined vaguely and meant to make us feel warm fuzzies. But most people just go back to their eggnog and carry on with their holiday.
Christians already know the meaning of Christmas from the Bible, even if Hollywood and Hallmark haven’t figured it out. Christmas is when our Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, took on human flesh and was born of the virgin Mary (John 1:14). Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah of Israel, the one foretold in the Law and the prophets (Luke 24:27). He came to save his people from their sins, to redeem every aspect of fallen humanity, and to reign forever as the resurrected Lord (Luke 1:67-78). This is the meaning of Christmas.
The real question for you to be asking yourself today is: “Because I know what Christmas means, what am I going to do about it?” The apostle Paul addressed this in Philippians 2:1-11. In verses 6 to 11, we find a theologically rich hymn describing the coming of Christ. But don’t forget why Paul reflects on Christ’s coming here. He was trying to get the Philippians to focus on serving others: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3-4).
When you think about the meaning of Christmas, don’t reduce it to a vague idea or sentimental feeling. Let Christ’s coming sink down into your soul and change you, as Paul said: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” (Phil. 2:5). Be humble as He was humble. Be selfless as He was selfless. Because of what Christ did for you at Christmas, imitate Him by doing the same for others.
Questions for Thought
- Imagine you sat next to someone on a plane who had never heard of Christmas before, and you had a short plane ride to explain it. What would you say? What passages from Scripture would you make sure to include?
- What is an area of your life where you tend to be selfish? If you were going to imitate Christ’s example, how would you do things differently?
When you don’t clearly see God’s plan in your life, look at how He has worked in your life through other circumstances, and learn that He uses those circumstances with His Word to give you direction. He did this for Joseph. He did this for Israel. He does this for us.
Dr. Robert Jeffress
Dr. Robert Jeffress is the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Dallas and a Fox News Contributor. He is an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, consistently makes guest appearances on various radio and television programs and mainstream media outlets, hosts a daily radio program, Pathway to Victory, and is the author of 26 books. He and his wife, Amy, have two daughters and three grandchildren.