My latest for the Longview News-Journal
Today is Christmas; the day that Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God. For many Christians, the past month has been the season of Advent. During this holy season, Christians have been preparing their hearts and minds for the arrival of Jesus the Christ. Among the sights and sounds of the shopping season, Christians have been waiting for the holy child to be born. The journey is marked with four Sundays each representing a particular aspect that Jesus will bring to the world: hope, peace, joy, and love. Candles are lit so that the darkness of the world will be pushed back each week as the light of the world, Jesus, will soon be born again in our lives.
However, it is hard for many people to find meaning or relevance in the Christmas story. Ever since the Enlightenment people have been trying to figure out the story of Christmas in a scientific way. Some people believe that the ancient story is not for them, that there is nothing of significance for someone in 2019. The story is outdated, it does not fit into what we know to be true about the world. There are too many questions and not enough answers.
I disagree. The original story of God coming to earth has great meaning for all of us today. The pillars of Advent, love, peace, hope, and joy, are not antiquated religious dreams.
Can love be outdated? Do we still not seek peace in our world? Is hope a lost desire? Have we lost the ability to have joy? The coming of Christ in the world on Christmas is more than lights, presents, and trees. It is more than getting together with family and friends and sharing good food and making memories. The story of Christmas is not an old story from thousands of years ago devoid of meaning for us today.
The birth of Jesus was not an ordinary event; it was the manifestation of the divine in the world. Jesus was the fullest expression of the divine that the world has ever seen. His birth signaled that the world was about to change and change forever. No longer would the old ways of selfishness and hatred be tolerated in the Kingdom of God rather it will now be replaced with love, mercy, and gentleness. No longer would love be conditional rather love now will be unconditional. Jesus’ birth was a sign to us all that God had not given up on the world and God still has not given up on us yet.
Yes, the world might not be the very good place God deemed it in Genesis 1, but every time that love is given, hope is shared, peace is extended, and joy celebrated then God is in midst of it all. God celebrates when we do and mourns when we do. The miracle of Christmas is being celebrated in these events.
We cannot and should not limit the movement and power of God at Christmas to a moment or even a day. The life-giving, life-changing miracle of the birth of Jesus is too important to minimize.
So, this Christmas I pray that you will feel God’s overwhelming love. May you be reminded that you are a beautiful child of God.
May we celebrate Christmas like the Shepherds did announcing the coming of Christ anew in the world.
May our song be “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:14).
Merry Christmas and God bless you and your family.