What Christmastime Has Taught Me About Love and Marriage

One word that is associated very much with Christmas is “give.”

It’s all over the place. We give gifts to one another. We give time towards hanging out with family. God gives Jesus to us for the salvation of our sins.

It’s all indicative of sacrifice, showing giving up something for the better of someone else. We give our money to stores so we can give gifts to others. God gives up His Son so we can find eternal life one day.

One thing that being engaged during this season has taught me is that, within marriage, I need to act like it’s Christmas all year round.

Ephesians 5:25 says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” That simple idea of a husband loving his wife like Christ loved the church, giving of Himself for her, is what marriage is supposed to look like in a nutshell. There’s a continual attitude of sacrifice and love, echoing the love that God showed for us in Christ on the cross.

And Christmas is a great time to reflect on those things. We can think about the gifts we give to our spouse/finacé(e)/significant other as a reflection of the gift God gives to us. We can think about going with them to the in-laws/future in-laws not as a chore, but as a joyous occasion to celebrate the season and to celebrate the bond of family.

By the way, I love my future in-laws. It’s not a chore for me at all. Just wanted to clear that up.

Christmas is a season of giving. So let’s see how we can echo the giving spirit of Christmas within our own romantic relationships not just in December, but year-round.

On Engagement: The Gospel and Christmas + An Announcement

If marriage is symbolic of the relationship between God and man once justification has happened, what is engagement?

This is the question I was asking myself this morning as I pondered my own engagement, which started around 5:45 p.m. yesterday. I asked my girlfriend if she would marry me, and she said yes. It’s a pretty big deal. Here’s a picture of us below:

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Once it was posted on Facebook a few hours later, the notifications started pouring in: comments on the photo, comments on the “life event” and hundreds and hundreds of likes. I was trying to figure out how I could write about this (typical writer of me), and I had this thought.

Engagement is such an announcement. I’ve had Facebook and Instagram notifications out the wazoo. And I’m so thankful for all of them. I’m thankful for all the people who love and care for me enough to think about Sarah and me.

But of course, I had to think of some spiritual tie-in. And I thought of Christmas.

We often think about Christmas as an announcement that Christ has come and that the forgiveness of sins is at hand. And that’s what I think of when I think about engagement.

Giving Sarah a diamond ring means I’m planning on marrying her. It means I’m planning on making a lifelong commitment. It means I’m committing to be committed. And that’s wild for me, because I’m terrified of commitment, I’m terrified of absolutes.

But when I look at Christmas, I see an announcement. It’s announcing that a wedding is coming, a relationship and a unity is approaching, between God and man. It’s one based on unconditional love, one based not on feeling and emotion but on commitment and faithfulness. It’s God committing to be committed.

2 Timothy 2:13 says this about God: “If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” God is faithful. He can’t stop being faithful. As Sarah and I prepare for marriage, I’m going to hope that I can be faithful as God is to me. He’s my guide for marriage.

Marriage is designed to reflect the Gospel, first and foremost. And I certainly hope Sarah and I can reflect the grace of God and the relationship between God and man in our relationship.

So whenever you see an engagement posting on Facebook, I encourage you to think about Christmas. Jesus coming is God saying, “Hey, relationship is upon you. Get ready. Prepare yourself. It’s going to be awesome.”


Just for fun, here’s a video I showed to Sarah before I proposed to her:

Hope Fulfilled: The Meaning of Christmas

I remember the hope I felt each Christmas morning when I was younger. I would wake up and sit at the top of the stairs in my house, waiting for my parents to tell me and my siblings that we could come down and see what gifts they had gotten us. The anticipation killed me. Was it a hockey jersey? Was it a bike? Was it that video game I wanted? Even last year, my junior year of college, I was a little more excited than I perhaps should have been on Christmas morning.

The anticipation of receiving a gift brings about happiness, excitement and hope for great things to come. Christmas is one of the times that we experience that the greatest.

For the Christian, however, the anticipation and joy is in a gift far more expensive, yet far more available, than anything our parents can get us.

Christmas is hope fulfilled. Throughout the Old Testament, the Israelites were waiting for the fulfillment of the old covenant and the institution of a new one. Jeremiah 31:31-34 fills us in (emphasis added):

31 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The hope is sin forgiven, God known, adoption. Before Christ’s descent, there was no full forgiveness of sins, there was no truly knowing God. The only one who had any idea of “knowing God” was the high priest, who once a year went into the high places and made sacrifices before the presence of God.

Christ replaced that high priest and became a better one, as Hebrews 7:26-28 makes clear:

26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens. 27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. 28 For the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect forever.

Because of this, we have a hope (that was once set up) FULFILLED. We no longer have to wait for salvation like we waited on Christmas morning for those gifts from our parents. It’s here for us. And Christ opened it up to not just the Jews, but also to the Gentiles, as Paul said the gospel is good news for both the Jew and the Greek. Hebrews 9:11-15 says (emphasis added again):

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. 15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.

This is the meaning of Christmas: Christ fulfilling the hope begun so long ago. This hope leads to so many things that would take days to write about, but most importantly, it leads to the hope of salvation, forgiveness of sins, absolution of guilt before God. That is the most important need of mankind, and Christ offers it freely. The payment was His death, but we get it for free, simply turning our lives to Him. No works, no magic words, no special circumstances. Just a heartfelt confession of our sin and our need of grace and Jesus, and a dependence on Him.

Christmas is so drenched in the gospel that we should not be able to contain how much we celebrate it.