Celebrating the First Advent: Rediscover the Meaning of Christmas

Written by Paul J Bucknell on December, 09, 2022

Celebrating the First Advent: Rediscover the Meaning of Christmas

Do you like the celebration of Christmas? Most people love Christmas, the celebration of Christ’s first coming into the world. I do; my family does—even the world, including many who do not know Jesus!

Those in far-off mountain villages of Burma (Myanmar) delight in celebrating Christmas. If allowed, Chinese people flock to churches on Christmas Eve. What is it that attracts people worldwide to Christmas celebrations? It’s Jesus and all that He represents.

We missed it!

We all missed the First Advent! Were you there? Of course not. Few people gathered at Jesus’ birth scene. Even if we broadened the First Advent to include Jesus’ life of 30+ years, very few witnessed Christ’s first coming. Thankfully, the Gospels provide ample testimony of the significant events surrounding Jesus’ birth.

Lights and songs heighten the glory of Jesus’ birth!


Let’s consider how people celebrate Christmas joy, love, and peace. There is no end to the countless beautiful ways people express their happiness. Just stop in a Christmas shop!

During our Christmas season, we reenact the glory of the first Christmas: lights (twinkling tree lights), sounds (Christmas carols), mystery (secretly wrapped gifts), and prophecies (Old Testament Bible passages). Some radio stations switch to Christmas programming the day after Thanksgiving. People string lights everywhere, inside and outside homes—even symbolic ones in our hearts. Christ has come! I love the manger scenes and magi, pointing to the intriguing birth of Jesus Christ—the incarnation.

But in the back of our minds, we know some people celebrate but do not know Christ but only Santa. Still, these symbols of Christmas represent the precious values that Christ Jesus brought into the world at His birth in Bethlehem, Israel.

Lights: The multicolor, dazzling lights represent the glorious lights of the heavens that guided the Magi to Jesus and the glory that surrounded the angels’ proclamation of Jesus’ birth to the poor shepherds. The world was dark, but Christ’s presence displays a steady light.

“And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-11).

Father Christmas (Santa Claus): One mighty Christmas symbol is the benevolent Father Christmas bearing gifts to all, bringing delight and joy. This Giver of good gifts only points to the glorious gift of God in sending His Son Jesus to earth (John 3:16).

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)

Gifts: People excitedly give decorated presents with glittery packaging, big and small, all received with joy. They get them not from work but from kindness, the mark of God’s grace. Each gift points to the extraordinary kindness of God when bestowing His best gift of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ’s birth and later death signify God’s extravagant love of God, going far beyond what we deserve.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8).

Christmas Songs: Though many secular Christmas songs have nothing to do with Jesus, they still imitate the joy and truth sounding from the famous Christmas Carols that proclaim the glory of Christ’s first coming. Many try to capture the glory the angels projected at Christ’s birth.

Evergreen trees: (trees, wreaths, etc.): Even though we find nothing of Christmas trees in the scriptures, we love the symbolism of life and its ongoing greenness. Christ Jesus came (i.e., born), died, rose from death, and lives today, so the celebration of Christ’s reign continues. 

To give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, with which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:77-79)

Christmas colors: Green and red colors suddenly appear everywhere, even in nature, before Christmas. The holly tree with its red berries is a favorite decoration, reminding us of Christ’s life (evergreen) and the red, pointing to Jesus’ death on the cross. “For this I have come.” Because God stepped into humanity, we delight in the incarnation to save us from our sins.

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Mat 1:21)

Christmas cards: Jesus is a Christmas card to be opened by all so that they might enter His kingdom of love through faith so that Christ lives in them, shining His very joy, life, and love through their lives.

Even if you don’t believe in Jesus but celebrate Christmas, you love what Jesus and His kingdom represent: love, joy, grace, peace, and delight. 

“Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”” (John 18:37).


Though we missed the First Advent, we do our best to capture the glorious essence of the Christmas season through all our trimmings. True, the incarnation of Jesus Christ is only a part of the Gospel, but it visibly manifests God’s magnanimous effort to bring His love and goodness into the world through Jesus.

A merry Christmas ushers in a happy New Year! God lives in Christ, despite the darkness of our world or situations. Perhaps, sickness, poverty, or desertion leave you without company this season. No matter. They are all true and His joy, love and glory surely will soon appear at Jesus Christ’s return.

We welcome Christ’s love to fill our hearts and look forward to the encompassing kingdom of God, which will show forth its full glory upon Christ Jesus’ second return, the Second Advent.

“The Sunrise from on high will visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:77-79)

Red, green, and gold are Christmas’ colors, each for a reason.

Study Questions for Christmas

  1. Why do people celebrate Christmas?
  2. What unique qualities or characteristics are associated with Christmas?
  3. What does the word ‘incarnation’ mean and what does it have to do with Jesus?
  4. Give three descriptions of Jesus Christ.
  5. What are five ways people celebrate Christmas?
  6. List one of your favorite ways to celebrate Christmas and why?
  7. Pick four of the above ways to celebrate Christmas and use a Bible verse to relate how they connect to the meaning of Christmas.
  8. If you had to answer a child as to why people celebrate Christmas, how would you respond?

Other Resources on Christmas by Paul J. Bucknell

Luke 1:77-78 C) The Light and Hope of Christmas (Lu 1:77-78) by ...

Luke 1:77-78 provide four points helping us gain the meaning of all the Christmas scenes that are given to us.


Luke 1:76-80 Hope in the Darkness by Paul J. Bucknell

I searched for images of Christmas cards, and what did I find? ... Christmas celebrates the truths surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ.


The Fascination of Light - Gospel message from John 8:12

During Christmas time, they would hang huge strings of lights over the front of City Hall's building, usually in the form of a Christmas tree.


Luke 1:78 Creation of light “Sunrise from on high shall visit us”

Christmas celebrates His visit, His entry into this world. God's promises of hope in the Old Testament, before Christ came, join Creation's witness and …


1 John 5:7-8: “The Spirit and the water and the blood” | Biblical ...

The Christmas story) which also affirms Christ taking upon a body, but gives evidence through Jesus' baptism (water) and death (blood).


Isaiah 9:1-7 The Glory of God's King - Isaiah Living Commentary

They would, however, take a promise into the dark cave. People without the promise are like having Christmas without Christ; a candle but no light; a heart but …


Luke 1:79 Meaning of Light - Isaiah 9:2 by Paul J. Bucknell

What a beautiful description of God's purpose of bringing light and love to the world and our own hearts


Light Shining in Darkness : Isaiah 60:1-5

Light and Darkness Isaiah 60:1-5 reveals the key to the way Christ Jesus had such an impact in His day and shows us the way we as His people are to live out ...


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