Order A Complimentary copy of our new Devotional—Anchors for the Soul

Christmas Day – December 25

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! Buon Natale! Frohe Weilnachten! Whatever one’s language, dialect, mood, or circumstance, this is a day for rejoicing! Poet Alexander Smith was right: “Christmas is the day that holds time together.” No matter the presents given, or lack thereof, tastiness of the Christmas meal, or the late breaking world news, this is the day for celebration!

Noticeably, for the first 1,300 years of Christianity, Easter was the most important day on the calendar. But then came Francis of Assisi who wanted to elevate Christmas as the celebration of God’s love poured out for the world. Francis had made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land where he saw the limestone cave in which the Son of God was thought to have been born. Francis returned home longing to tell others about the lowly manger and Jesus’ humble love.

Francis’ friend and biographer, Thomas of Celano, told of Francis’ delight in the meaning of Christmas: “Francis observed the birthday of the child Jesus with inexpressible eagerness over all other feasts, saying, ‘It is the feast of feasts, on which God, having become a tiny infant, clung to human breasts.’” (Thomas of Celano, Francis of Assisi)

So it was on the Christmas of 1223 that Francis of Assisi gathered the world’s first Christmas creche in a cave outside the little village of Greccio. In the cave, amidst a few barnyard animals, Francis placed a wax figure of baby Jesus and a peasant woman and man dressed like Mary and Joseph. He then invited villagers to come, behold and worship. Thomas of Celano described Francis’ passion to “evoke the memory of the heavenly Child who had been born in Bethlehem…seeing Him lying on a bit of hay, reclining in a manger, warmed by the breath of an ox and a mule.” (Thomas of Celano, Francis of Assisi)

Today stands out as a day for worship, for celebration of the most incomprehensible event in history. On this day the infinite, transcendent Creator became a creature. He put on human flesh, becoming what we are without ceasing to be what He has always been. God deigned to take to Himself our human existence, becoming fully human, in humble circumstances, without losing His Deity. He who is timeless entered time, writing Himself into the story He authored. “In Jesus Christ…meet infinite highness and infinite condescension; infinite justice and infinite grace; infinite glory and lowest humility, infinite majesty and transcendent meekness.” (Jonathan Edwards, sermon, “The Excellency of Christ”)

Jesus is the Child born for us, the Son given to us: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” that we might be born again as sons and daughters of God. He came to a lowly manger to bear our shame and rejection, so that we might bear His glory. He who is beyond all knowing came to make Himself known, not just with words and stories, but with His lowly birth and cursed cross.

We began the days of Advent with God’s glorious promise that the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. God gave the greatest of all gifts “for us” and “to us”. We receive Him and rejoice! Merry Christmas! The Light has shined!


O Lord, how we do rejoice in this day as we celebrate Your birth! We also delight in sweet memories of past Christmases and family traditions, and thoughts of those who were once with us and are not with us today. We ask for your rich blessings on our families, friends, fellow citizens, and yes, our enemies. May they know the real meaning and joy of such a wondrous day. We commend to your care our soldiers, police, fire fighters, first responders, health care workers, and all who serve while we celebrate. We remember before You those who grieve today and for whom the holidays have seemed hollow days. We ask that You reveal to them Your loving presence. Thank You Father that You so loved the world that You gave Your Son to be one with us, that we might forever be one with You. May the Jesus Light shine on us and through us, until the Day breaks and we see Jesus face to face. For Your glory and our eternal good, we pray. Amen.

recent posts

join our list

Sign up and receive our weekly devotionals, Selah podcast episodes, info on seasonal devotionals, and announcements.