Christmas is about Christ — it’s Christ’s mass!
Alas, in our culture this obvious fact does not seem to be recognized by everyone. I was saddened by a recent conversation with a student, a baptized and confirmed Christian, who does not celebrate Christmas because he is alienated by the materialism and superficiality of it all.
I responded to him simply: Christmas is what you make it. Make it about Christ!
His cynicism prompted me to reflect more deeply on my own reasons for celebrating the season. Is Christ truly central?
I ask myself a question: what do I value the most about the historical life of Jesus that warrants such celebration? The simplicity of his birth in a stable in Bethlehem? The unpretentiousness of his village life as a carpenter for thirty years in Nazareth? His public ministry proclaiming the absolute priority of love of God and others over all else, love especially for the poor? His example of forgiveness even of enemies? His courage in witnessing to his message despite persecution by Jewish and Roman authorities? His willingness to die for his convictions while forgiving his persecutors from the cross? His absolute trust in his most dear Father?
And I ask another question: what do I value about my faith in Jesus as universal Saviour of humankind -- and my own personal Saviour — warranting such celebration? I realize that my faith in Jesus enables me to live in daily communion with Jesus enabling him to give light and strength for every area of my life — relationships, work, health, social concerns on local, national and international levels. And I realize that communion with Jesus is there especially during difficult times when I needed extra guidance and strength: “Come to me all you who labor and are burdened and I will give rest to your souls. ” Never has Jesus left me to face my problems alone.
Hopefully Jesus is the central reason for my celebrating this Christmas, though I admit that Christmas remains the highpoint of my year for celebrating and feasting with family and friends. But I am not apologetic. Is there any other event in history that warrants celebrating and feasting as much as birth on our planet of Jesus Christ, the Son of God?
Zechariah’s exclamation about Jesus remains true for all time: “In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet unto the way of peace.” For this is indeed the day that the Lord has made, so let us rejoice and be glad in it.
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