The Measure of Reality and the Meaning of Christmas

I love all the Christmassy stuff. The smell of indoor pine trees. The colors. The movies. The music. You can say I’ve got a soft spot for the season. Beyond all the fun stuff normal people enjoy about the best time of the year — and, trust me, when it comes this kind of stuff, I’m as normal as they come — the truth of Christmas is massively disruptive.

This little baby born to an unlikely teenage couple, cradled in a shack surrounded by animals, was turning the world upside down. I love how C.S. Lewis described it in The Last Battle, “Once in our world, a Stable had something in it that was bigger than our whole world.” How could that be? Let me unpack two worldview shaping realities of Christmas.

First, Christmas shows us nature is not all there is. If there is a God who stepped into the theater of human history, he is showing us, de facto, there is something beyond nature, what we might call supernatural. The universe is not a closed system of cause and effect. History can be altered by the author of our story, and, it would seem he has made us in such a way that we can affect the story as well. We are not cogs meaninglessly spinning around in some sort of cosmic machine.

Second, Christmas shows us we don’t have to figure it all out on our own. We spend so much of our lives looking at things from the bottom up, reasoning from the earth below outwards towards the heavens above. But if there is a God who stepped into the arena of human activity, it shows us there is another form of knowledge. There is another perspective. There is such a thing as top-down information.

The tinsel, the wreaths, the carolers, the whole show is reminding us of a cradle that shaped the world. Christmas tells us we are not living in a mechanistic universe. It shows us atheism is false. It demonstrates we don’t have to make sense of it all on our own.

The light has come into the world. He is the truth, the life, and the way. These are a few of my favorite things.