Vanity of Vanities cries the Preacher. All is meaningless. The book of Ecclesiastes feels very apt for our time. Everything can feel like a toil and a meaningless toil at that. The solution would seem to be:
Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. (Ecclesiastes 5:18 ESV)
Just eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow we die. Christmas is a time to be merry and eat lots of food until you are stuffed like a Turkey. It would seem we partly do this because there is no meaning in life and life itself is very short and slipping away so we should get on and enjoy ourselves and yet even this in itself is a vanity. The preacher then goes on to say that death is meaningless:
In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. (Ecclesiastes 7:15 ESV)
It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. (Ecclesiastes 9:2 ESV)
It seems even if a righteous man dies, it is meaningless. Death happens to everyone and it feels empty and meaningless.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of a baby that was destined to die. The Son of God, a righteous man was born to die. It would seem hopeless and meaningless. As they laid him in the tomb did they whisper “Vanity of Vanities”?
But, he didn’t stay dead. He rose to life and as he burst through death ripping out its sting, he came alive with all hope and meaning. No longer is life a vanity. No longer is life about eating and drinking to escape some meaningless reality or because tomorrow we die. Instead life is about resurrection. And because of resurrection we can now eat and drink and be merry for the hope and life we have before us.
Christmas is about the one who will be resurrected, so that we can eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we live!