Well, it’s Christmastime again. And looks like we might have a “white Christmas” here too, eh? Along with the snow, we also enjoy during the Christmas season many beautiful traditions. I was told that Covington community tree lighting has been going on since 1980. What a wonderful way to share the joy of Christmas with family and friends!
But as wonderful a holiday this is, it’s also a good to remind ourselves that Christmas is only a day. An it’s an arbitrary observance at that since we really don’t know the actual date of Jesus’ birth. And it’s equally true, as our current culture certainly shows, that it can also be observed without any reference to Christ whatsoever. But we should remember that the holiday is Christian because the reality of Christmas is always with us. You see, the fact of the matter is that Christmas just doesn’t just point to a moment in the past but also to the living present.
Whatever else Christmas may be about, the Holy Scriptures make it clear that what is going on in the birth of Jesus Christ is nothing short of God’s invasion into a hostile territory. Jesus’ birth started the breaking in of the new age in the coming of the gracious reign of God. Christmas signifies a divine infusion of light into a dark realm that had been for all intensive purposes usurped by the powers of evil and the forces of human willfulness.
So at Christmas we must avoid the trap of falling into merely feel-good sentimentality. Christmas is more then just pretty lights and happy songs. It’s Jesus Christ who makes Christmas, well, Christmas. Because, in the person of that little baby born in a humble manger, “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10) has indeed come to us. We must always remember that the great joy of Christmas does not originate with us and our traditions however pleasing they maybe. The good news of Christmas is that a Savior has been given to us – to you.
And if we are honest, we really do need one very badly, don’t we? The worlds a mess, isn’t it? And can we say our lives are much better? Yet we humans keep trying to secure our own future through our efforts and choices despite all the pain, suffering & death this often brings.
But thanks be to God that He decided that the ultimate choice about the our future is going to belong to Him alone. So the language of choice at Christmas is the language of God’s choosing to come be with sinners like you and I who are the lost, frightened, & anxious ones. As Saint Luke put it: “Today, your Savior, Christ the Lord was born.” (Luke 2:11)
My friends, Jesus was born just for you. Although we did not choose Him, God chose us – God chose you! God is God so He get the last word & what He says to us in the birth of Jesus is what He decided He wants most of all is you.
This is the great joy of Christmas. Jesus enters into the broken human story – your story – to freely give humanity all the forgiveness, love and mercy of the Father. He imparts meaning to your life and now dwells with you in such a way that you no longer need have fear the past. So the great gift of God gives at Christmas is freedom. Freedom for you to be truly human. We can be the person God always created us to be because, in Jesus Christ, God has decided that His grace will always be there – for you.