Which is the most important event for Christians to celebrate—Jesus’ birth or Jesus’ resurrection? I don’t believe there is any reason we need to choose between the two.
Celebrating Christmas is joyful and it causes us to remember that Jesus chose to come to earth—as a babe taking on human flesh—in order to become our Savior.
However, there is no question that the most important event for Christians to celebrate is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The Apostle Paul made that clear to the doubting people of Corinth. He wrote the following:
“But if it is preached that Christ has been raised form the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. . . And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:12-14,17).
Have you ever wondered why almost anybody will celebrate Christmas, the birth of the Christ child, but celebrating the resurrection is not so universally accepted? Let’s face it: It does strain credulity and sound quite brazen to say you believe that someone was raised from the dead.
Not long ago I was explaining to some international students from China what we Christians believe. These young women have no religious background whatsoever, and I was telling them that we believe in the virgin birth and the resurrection of Jesus, and why that is so vital to our faith. As I was speaking to them, I thought to myself how absolutely unreal—perhaps even absurd—that must have seemed to these young women. Did I actually believe that Jesus was buried in a tomb but after three days he left that tomb empty on his own, alive forevermore?
You see, no other religion in the world has a risen savior. No other religion claims that their leader or their deity rose from the dead. They worship their graves, in some cases; they memorialize how and where they died; but they don’t claim that their savior became alive again.
As we come up to the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we need to think again of that empty tomb. Jesus is the only qualified Savior because he has conquered death. We need to celebrate this glorious truth and be able to defend it.