As we reach beyond the middle of December, it seems incumbent that we stop the wild preparations for happy holidays and reflect back on an incident that occurred more than 2,000 years ago.
Actually, historians and researchers have announced that it occurred during the months of July or August and 5 to 7 years before postulated in the Gregorian Calender used today. However that may be, it has been centuries that believers in Christ Jesus as the Son of God have seen fit to observe the 25th day of the 12th month as his birth. Various societies and branches of the Christian faith begun by His teaching have developed different ways for the observance each with more or less solemnity or celebrations.
Unfortunately, in my mind, we in the United States have gone overboard for far too long in the exuberant celebration observance mode. Too many of us seem to lose sight of the true reason for the season. Others, not of the Christian faith, are more than willing to indulge in the celebration aspect of this, to us, very holy season.
For those of the Jewish faith, (possibly because in my youth my Jewish friends were sympathized with while we opened our Christmas gifts) the celebration of Hanukkah – or Festival of the Lights – was brought into action. This, we learned later, was a celebration of an early incident, when in the Temple there was not enough oil to last one day, but it last for seven.
Then, in relatively recent decades, those of the black activist movement came out with the celebration of Kwanza. My memory is not clear on the whole purpose of this, or what it is supposed to be commemorating, but more than one report has come to me that the originator has admitted, or actually proclaimed, that it was a complete hoax and meant nothing.
For us in the Christian Faith, this is the observance of the birth of the Son of God, who lowered himself to human level by being born of a betrothed virgin woman, thus fathered by the Holy Spirit, and grew up under the instruction of his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. But from the written word it appears He already knew as a boy who and what He is. An example of that is the written story that He stayed behind in the Temple, without their knowledge, to question and learn. When found by them and chastised, He replied “Did you not know I would be in my Father’s house?”
God did not do what humans would have done but chose earthly parents who would be somewhat poor. They traveled when Caesar decreed a census. Each family went to the original hometown of the father to be personally counted. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn and as it was time for delivery, Jesus was born in a stable.
The most important thing we should remember is that this was God reaching out to mankind to restore the relationship of creation between man and God. Over the millennia since Adam, mankind had fallen away and become corrupt and evil which was most painful to Him. He thus has given everything, even his Son, to recement the original relationship and show His love for all of us, even sinners.
The favorable result of this gift, if accepted by each of us, is the promise that upon the death of our earthly bodies, each will today be with Him in Paradise, according to scripture: Luke: 23; 43 (NIV). Thus we, who believe, feel assured that we will leave these earthly, and sometimes painful, bodies behind and receive a new one to use forever with Him and Father God.
May this God whom I believe, and try to serve, grant you a most Merry Christmas filled with joy, peace, comfort and prosperity now and for the rest of your time here.