The most wonderful time
According to the popular song this season is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas! The word alone is enough to fill you with either a thrill of excitement or an overwhelming sense of ‘Bah! Humbug!’ depending on your point of view. For every person I know who begins preparations and planning sometime in September, I know of another, who greets the whole holiday with a roll of the eyes and look of bored resignation. I have to be honest, and own up to the fact, that I am one of the former. I think Christmas is amazing! But I do understand the point of view of those who would rather forgo the festivities for something with a little less sparkle and fewer jingling bells.
I’m a Christian, so for me the meaning of Christmas goes beyond the tree, the gifts and the food. As much as I love all of those things, they are just the dressing. The heart of this holiday is a celebration of hope; it’s the celebration of a promise fulfilled and if that was the only gift I received each year, to be completely honest, that would be more than enough for me.
Back to basics
The story of the birth of Jesus has been told many times. If you have never read it for yourself the best place to go is the book of Luke or Matthew in the bible. For many, it is little more than a children’s story about a star, angels and a baby. Good for a play and some nice carols may be, but nothing more. I have a slightly different point of view. For me, remembering and celebrating the arrival of Jesus is hugely significant.
The birth of Christ was the moment that God became a man and came to live with us. One of the names that Jesus is given in the bible is Immanuel, this literally means God with us. The God who made everything, humbled himself to become like one of his creation, subjecting himself to the trials and the rules that govern man, just so that he could be with us and one day experience death. By Jesus being born, the gap that formed between God and man when Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden became smaller.
A New Hope
This one event marks a new era of hope for the world. The song ‘Oh Holy Night’ puts it this way:
‘Long lay the world in sin and e’er pining. ‘Till He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth. A Thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices. While yonder breaks a new an glorious morn’.
The bible also tells us about the choir of Angels who sang when Jesus was born. We read about the shepherds who came and praised God for what they saw. We read of the magi or wise men who, followed a star and traveled to bring him gifts. All of these things are acts of worship. This word comes from the old English word ‘woerthship’, which means to state, proclaim or give back worth. The response to the gift of Jesus was worship and we can still have the same response today.
For me Christmas is many things. Yes it’s a time to enjoy being with my friends and family. Yes it includes gifts and celebration, but above all it’s a time to remember that Jesus is the greatest gift. I celebrate because, his coming means, I don’t need to be afraid or face life’s challenges alone. Christmas is a beautiful step forward in the plan God had to restore the broken relationship between him self and mankind.