Jesus' birth was a fact, but not merely a fact, it was a gift and it had a purpose. Remember what the angel said,
Part of the good news that causes great joy for all the people is that Jesus was born "to you."
Martin Luther, the man who arguably made Christmas and not St. Nicholas day (Santa Claus day affectionately) the most prominent celebration during this season, in 1530 stated, "[The angel] does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you he is born, neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy." Luther hears the angel not merely announcing a fact, but as proclaiming the arrival of something good, something long anticipated: God has given you a gift! This is more than simply stating that there is a gift. It's even better than hearing that the gift is for you. The gift is this very day given to you! Ultimately, Luther desired Christmas to be such a celebration: a celebration of giving centered around the giving of the supreme gift: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only son." (John 3:16)
So what does it mean that Jesus was born "to us"? What was the purpose of this gift? We sing the answer to this question every year. In his Hymn for Christmas Day, Charles Wesley gives the answer,
In the gift of Jesus Christ we receive new life and freedom from sin and death; in Him we are given great joy and a living hope; in His birth we receive life and peace, a heaven-born peace not as the world gives, but Christ's own peace! (John 14:27) This is a wrapped gift that has no equal, no comparison.
So as you enjoy the gifts that are given to you during this Christmas season, remember the gift that was given to you 20 centuries ago, the Child that was born "to you": in that birth is good news, in that gift there is greatest joy! May Christ remain the best gift you receive this season and your greatest joy be found in response to the good news that Jesus was born "to you." Merry Christmas!
--Written by Andrew Martin, Upper School Bible Department Chair