Christmas changes everything.
What a blessing it was to spend time with our community last night at our Christmas Candlelight Chapel and again this morning with the always fun and memorable Christmas Hymn Sing Chapel. There is nothing quite like listening to young children singing the great hymns of Christmas, worshiping and praising our Lord and then squealing with delight as we close with The 12 Days of Christmas.
As we now scatter for a couple of weeks to spend time with family and friends, to catch our breath from another year passing by, and to contemplate what this next year will bring, I wanted to leave you with a quick thought as you head into Christmas break: Christmas changed everything.
Specifically, it changed our identity.
We live in a culture that seeks to place labels on individuals as a way of defining them, is permeated by identity politics, struggles with sexual identity, and is inundated with identity crises. We live in a culture that cannot answer the question, “Who am I?”
As I was thinking about this question over the last couple of weeks, I thought about this passage of Scripture:
When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:13-16)
I cannot read that passage of Scripture without being overcome with emotion. “You are the Christ, the son of the Living God” is such a profound and definitive statement. There is no equivocation, no additional qualifiers, no other adjectives. In the following verse, Jesus confirms this statement contained the full expression of Jesus’ identity.
It is in this statement of who Jesus is that I now find out who I am. As “Christ”, Jesus is my messiah, my Savior. He has purchased me. I don’t belong to me anymore. As a result, my life is no longer about me, my wants, my desires, and my feelings. It is not all about my happiness. Due to His grace and mercy, I am His, and my purpose is to live for Him. I am His ambassador. For those of us who have placed our faith in Christ, we have been given a new identity.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The moment the Holy Spirit moved in my life, I became someone completely different. I can no longer claim anything from my past and to do so negates the transformational work that was accomplished by Jesus Christ. I am a new creation. The labels that once defined me are no longer valid. As much as we seek to find value and meaning in those labels, whether noble or not, they cannot capture who we are once we have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
The answer to “Who am I?” can only be answered completely when you answer the question Jesus posed to the disciples, “But who do you say that I am?” The answer to that question answers the first question.
Who am I? I am a follower of Jesus Christ.
Thankfully, Christmas changed everything.
From all of us here at Heritage Preparatory School, we hope you have a joyful, blessed, and very merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Matthew H. Skinner