I appreciate how Christians all over the world try to add meaning to what used to be a beautiful religious observance that has “magically” been transformed into a greed-filled, money-making extravaganza, filled with false gift-induced joy. I guess this shouldn’t surprise us, knowing the nature of mankind.

Christians read the wonderful accounts in Matthew and Luke at Christmas time, as they should. They talk about the shepherds, Joseph, Mary, the angels, the kings from the East, the star, and the stable. All good stuff. However, one monumental truth that is not emphasized should be, and if and when it is, will take the misty, warm stories about the birth of Jesus and turn them to jaw-dropping, fall-to-our-knees truth.

What truth is this? It is the truth about the nature of that baby born to a poverty-stricken couple in an obscure part of a Roman province.

That truth is this: The one true God—the only God that exists—the God who created all things, conceived of all things, from physics, electromagnetism, matter, time, light, water, oxygen, photosynthesis, genetics, grasshoppers, maple trees, wolves, and butterflies; the God who lives in a heavenly realm totally separate from ours, who possesses such vast power, knowledge, and abilities that we simply cannot comprehend—this God came to earth as a helpless baby. This God grew to be a man who “emptied himself,” who, instead of arriving on this planet with the notion of bringing a conquering, full-force, devastating rule over every person and every nation, no matter how powerful, came as someone whose sole intent was to prove Himself to be God-in-the-flesh, purposed to die so we could know Him—and therefore had to absorb into Himself the full measure of the punishment for our rebellion. And, if that was not enough, to then adopt these foolish, disobedient ones as His children—children of the astounding, wise, powerful God, and give them an inheritance that will last forever, never fading, never decaying.

There is only one God, and He is the God described above. This God possesses power that is unimaginable to us; yet, He is a God of compassion, of forgiveness, of mercy—love straight through. The God who instead of using His immense power against us, weakened Himself and died.

But Death could not hold Him. When He rose, He conquered death—your death. He conquered sin—your sin. He conquered the grave—your grave. In other words, you yourself, if you believe, will. Never. Die. You will live forever—forever in a place that is so astounding, so other-worldly, that if you simply read portions from Revelation and Ezekiel, you will scratch your head in uncomprehending wonder. You will be loved in this place and provided for in this place—this place that Jesus called the Kingdom of God.

So, believer, if that’s who it is reading this piece, I admonish you to add the full spectrum of this truth to the warm and wonderful Christmas story that includes glorious angels, a shining star, humble parents, and poor shepherds. Please trust me. Your Christmas will be more meaningful, and gifts, food, and pretty decorations will become far less so.