Christmas is undoubtedly a special time of year, but it is often quite a frantic time too.
Our ‘To Do’ lists seem endless and the mountain of cards waiting to be signed grows year-on-year. We spend more, eat more, travel more, get stressed more … we even go to church more!
I begin to suffer from Christmas fatigue about half way through November – and that’s just at the prospect of what looms. Each year we find ourselves asking the same question: is this what Christmas is really all about?
The central event of the Christmas story
To answer that question it’s important to recall the central event of the Christmas story. Forget the angels, and the shepherds, the gifts and the idyllic stable scene. Forget even the baby in the manger wrapped tightly in pure white cloth on a bed of golden hay.
The central event of Christmas is the gracious activity of God who chose to be revealed in the most direct and vulnerable way possible: as a fellow human being. As John’s gospel puts it, ‘the Word became flesh and lived among us’.
The mega-story of Christmas is God’s choice to be human. To live our lives, experience our joy, feel our pain, understand the drag of temptation and yet inspire hope through compassionate living.
The significance of Christmas doesn’t stop there; it is confirmed through how Jesus lived his life. This man Jesus taught that to be truly great one must first be the servant of all. That in the grand scheme of things the first will be last and the last first, that we must love our neighbours and even our enemies as ourselves.
It’s about being fully human, and how our attitudes can be wonderfully transformed when we learn to love and show compassion to others.
Isn’t that what Christmas is really all about rather than the busyness, expense, stress, and excess we often get tangled in? Instead, by allowing the festive season to prompt an attitude of loving-kindness we can actually draw closer to God and one another as a result.
Wishing you all a happy and peace-filled Christmas.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John Chapter 1, verses 1-5 (NRSV)
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah Chapter 9, verse 6 (NIV)
(Credit: Feature image with text is adapted with image by Cindee Snider Re via Flickr.)