The Christmas holiday season tends to be what most people look forward to every year.
Listen to songs that croon lines such as, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” and “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” and my point will be clearly seen.
We must remember what Christmas is - what is celebrated. For, if we do not, or, shall I say, if you do not, then perhaps you shouldn’t call it Christmas.
If one were to play the game of anagrams and not come out with the name “Christ” then something is wrong. However, I will assume that “Christ” is crystally and clearly present in the word Christmas, so that we may know what is being celebrated this season: Christ.
What about Christ?
His first advent was in a little town called Bethlehem, in a stable, for there was no room in the inn, where he was then wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.
We are called just like the shepherds to stop whatever we are doing, and to “come and see”, to worship, to adore, to love as he showed us to love: by giving all of ourselves for him, as he has given all of himself for us.
Is Christmas the most important “holiday” of the year? By far, no. It is Easter, for that is where we celebrate the font of our salvation, the Cross of Christ, by which we are saved.
This is not to downplay the importance of Christmas by any means, for if Christ wasn’t born in Bethlehem, then He most certainly couldn’t have been crucified for our sins on Calvary.
The roads leading to the destination are important, but the destination is why we are on the road in the first place. When I drive to Atlanta, I am not on I-20 for the sake of I-20, but because I-20 takes me to Atlanta.
So, this is to encourage you to celebrate Christmas for what it is: the birth of Christ.
Let us not think of the birth of Christ as a past event in history, but as an ongoing thing in our daily lives, as Christ is conceived in our lives as we, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, say “Behold, I am handmaiden of the Lord; may it be done unto me according to Thy Word”; and is thus birthed into our lives and the lives around us by our words and deeds – for that is what people hear and see from us.
Let us be like John the Baptist and Elizabeth from Luke’s Gospel, who rejoiced at the Virgin Mary’s greeting, not because the Virgin Mary was the Virgin Mary, but because she was doing what she was supposed to be doing: Bringing Christ into the world.
If we listen and pay attention, we will hear her pulling on the sleeve of our shirt, telling us, as she told those in Cana, to “Do whatever He tells you to do.” For we so easily forget that we are “strangers in a strange land” only passing through, and we get comfortable.
But let us not get comfortable here for we are not made for here, but for heaven, and we get to heaven by loving God with our whole hearts, minds, strengths, and souls; and loving our neighbors as ourselves.
Love God first, for God always sends us to our neighbors; our neighbors don’t always send us to God.
So, this Christmas, in addition to receiving gift cards to Barnes and Noble and to the local movie theater and your favorite restaurants, receive the best gift, the free gift of Jesus Christ, and the salvation that he offers to those who receive it.
Let Christ reign in you, as he reigns in heaven and the saints and angels.