Greg Laurie, the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship church, has said that what Christmas is really about is recognizing that Jesus Christ will return one day to fulfill the promise that remains in Isaiah in the Bible.
Laurie quoted from Isaiah 9:7 in a Facebook message on Thursday, which reads: "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Laurie commented that part of that promise has not yet been fulfilled, however.
"The Son has been given. The Child has been born. But He has not yet taken the government upon His shoulders. We do not yet have peace with judgment and justice," the megachurch pastor wrote.
"But the good news is that there will come a day when Christ will return. He will establish His Kingdom on this Earth. And it will be the righteous rule of God Himself."
He noted that while when Jesus was born, a star marked His arrival, the next time He arrives, "the Heavens will roll back like a scroll, all of the stars will fall from the sky, and He Himself will light it."
Laurie continued: "Christmas is not about tinsel or shopping or presents. Christmas is not about the gifts under the tree. Rather, Christmas is about the gift that was given on the tree when Christ died there for our sins and gave us the gift of eternal life."
The pastor has preached about the return of Jesus and the Final Judgment in the End Times on a number of occasions, and earlier in December focused a sermon on the book of Revelation.
He said that according to the Bible, there are two deaths, one physical, and one spiritual.
"Jesus warned that we should fear the second death more than the first death. It is spiritual separation from God," Laurie said.
"Eternity to the godly is a day that has no sunset. Eternity to the wicked is a night that has not sunrise."
The Harvest Christian Fellowship church leader has also commented on how some people may be failing to grasp what the Christmas story is really about, and are instead choosing to romanticize it.
"In reality, the story of Jesus is not a rags-to-riches story; it is a riches-to-rags story. It is a story of leaving the glory of Heaven for this planet. Jesus could have been born in the most elegant mansion on the ritziest boulevard in Rome," Laurie wrote in a previous Facebook post.
"He could have had aristocratic parents who boasted of their pedigree. He could have had the finest clothes from the most exclusive shops. He could have had legions of angels as an army of servants to respond to His every whim. But He had none of that. Instead, Jesus humbled Himself," he added.