What is Christmas?

Every year around December many people from all over the world celebrate Christmas… They light up their homes with stars, decorate a Christmas tree, go around singing late into the night, bake cakes, give and receive gifts and the list goes on. A fat man in red and white attire is ready in front of many shops and other places to spread cheer. We hear of snow, silver bells, candles, mistletoe, candy cane, holy and Ivy as inevitable elements of the celebration. Sure the season is loaded with stuff… Have these made you wonder what is Christmas?

Let me take you to a scene that I believe was the First Christmas… I am afraid you may not find many of these familiar symbols you see every year around this time.

A poor peasant virgin named Mary, on the way to her town, to complete the registration for the census goes into labour. She was accompanied by Joseph, the man who she was betrothed to. They were not able to find a place to stay as the town was overcrowded with many visitors leaving the inns full. They found a manger and she delivered a baby boy. A heavenly choir is said to have sung around announcing his birth. Shepherds were His first guests. Wise Men from the East had met with Him following a strange looking start too.

It is this seemingly strange and insignificant birthday of this little baby the world celebrates as Christmas. December 25th is just a day marked to celebrate and probably has little reasons to be the actual date. Is this then getting you to wonder what these celebrations are all about?

Well although the story I painted above looks like a weird, crisis management scene, there was One behind orchestrating this whole thing. He is none other than God Himself. It was His Son who was born the way I have described earlier.

Why did God send His only Son into the earth in such an unimpressive style? Remember, I told you shepherds were His first guests. Maybe if He were born in a palace, it wouldn’t have been within reach for the poor and the lowly to visit Him. Maybe He didn’t want anyone to feel He wasn’t accessible.

It’s even more interesting to note that His name is Jesus and that means He would save! A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger is sure a strange way to save the world… But the message of His birth is that He can come in your hearts and lives, irrespective of the condition they are presently in, just the same way He was born in a manger. The angelic choir that sang of His birth said love, joy, peace, and hope have come to rest on earth at His birth. And that same will be true when He comes into your life.

The lyrics of a famous hymn song during Christmas goes like this…

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

Yes, Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus who was not only born on this earth two thousand years ago but also is being born in the hearts and lives of all who welcome Him. It is neither a religious nor a cultural celebration. It’s a celebration of a new relationship. Christmas celebration is meaningful if Jesus has been invited into our lives. All other symbols from the star to the Santa are mere accessories. Jesus is the reason for the season: welcome Him into your life to join the endless celebration. A blessed Christ-centred Christmas to you! God bless you!

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