So this is Christmas. Many people are preparing for the big day. Buying food and drinks, wrapping presents, putting up the Christmas tree and decorations, and doing many other things to be ready for the celebrations.
But what is it all about?
Of course, the Christian message is that Christ was born as a child and was born of a Virgin here on earth.
We all know that. We heard it and said it so often that it rolls of the tongue and has become a yearly litany. But let's ask again, seriously this time: What is it all about?
To many people who do not truly believe in God the Christian message is heard with a "Yeah ... Yeah ... we've heard it all before", as they continue to prepare for the secular festivities. The message of the Nativity is drowned by the Carol singing, albeit many are Christian based, and the music and singing and dancing.
But how about the Christians? How do they view the feast of Christmas? Is the message really understood and revered for what it is?
Let us start from the true fact that God exists. He is an omnipotent all caring and all loving, living Creator Being. No one has seen Him; and we assume that He is a Spirit. Existing yet invisible. He communicated with us in the past through the prophets and Jewish elders, and He does with us today in many ways and forms.
When the time was right, and when He believed we were receptive in mind and body, He sent Jesus to earth so that He, (God), would experience humanity in all its form, and we, (humans), would get to see God and hear Him and speak to Him.
This event, the coming of Jesus into the world changed the whole course of humanity. It even changed the calendar from BC to AD, and changed our lives for ever ... if we choose to believe.
Now God could have chosen many ways to send Jesus, who was/is fully human and fully God, to earth.
He could have sent Him as a Spirit. A presence that was felt and heard and experienced. How do you think we humans would have reacted to that? Perhaps by running away as if we've seen a ghost, (Spirit), or by scoffing in incredulity unless we experienced Him personally.
God could have sent Jesus as a fully grown-up man. Appearing from nowhere. Powerful, omnipotent, loving and caring. A bit like Superman or similar hero. How would we have reacted then? We would have been so frightened out of our minds with fear and submission that we would have done anything He said to be spared of the consequences. Hardly the act of a loving God to force us into submission by fear and threats.
God could have sent Jesus as a baby born of a man and woman like all of us. He would then be accepted as "one of us" would He not? But then, we did not accept the prophets in the past, and people like Abraham, Moses and others. Why would a Jesus born out of humanity be any different?
God decided to send us Jesus born from a Virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. Fully God and fully human. To experience humanity in all its facets and to share in our strengths and weaknesses. Jesus was tempted by the devil, as we often are. He was tired when He fell asleep in the boat, as we often are. He was thirsty by the well, and needed food and nourishment as we often are. He felt pain when beaten, tortured, and nailed to the Cross to die horribly.
He experienced humanity to the full; and in doing so, He taught us how to overcome our earthly journey with all its pains and obstacles and how to prepare for an eternity with our loving Father in Paradise. He came to prepare the Way. That was His Mission.
And yet today, as we prepare the dinner table, the presents and the music, there are many who refuse to believe. It is not a matter that they do not believe through ignorance. Because they do not know. It is because they obstinately and willingly refuse to believe that an omnipotent living Being exists and that He visited us in person.
So how about us Christians? If we are to have a positive impact on people around us, do we really ... really ... understand the implications of the reality of Christmas?
Let those who truly believe live their journeys in such a way that it makes others want what we have in their lives. Amen.