There is no holiday on Earth that gets celebrated like Christmas. Most holidays get a day…maybe two as celebration. Christmas gets a month! Or by one commentator’s observation this year, Halloween is now the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season! They may be right. How can the celebration of the simple birth of a peasant child in the Middle East…and not in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv but in Bethlehem….shut down traffic in Tokyo, Japan in 2015? And yet each year it does.
That in itself is enough reason to ponder the “why” of Christ’s coming. Surely we cannot convince ourselves that Christmas is about getting a great deal on an iPad on Black Friday or a two-for-one special at the local department store doorbuster? And surely it’s not just about another chance to get the family home around the dinner table or to roast chestnuts on an open fire.
If we get this right, we have to admit that remembering the day that God invaded earth deserves a bit of celebration. I mean, how often is it that we have an event on our calendar that we can point back to and said “This day changed the world!” And yet it did. You can’t even tell your age today without referencing Christmas. I personally was born 1,954 years after Jesus was born!
But maybe the celebration is so great because of what we lack, not because of our abundance. Maybe we sing so loudly at Christmas, even if out of key, because we need to remind ourselves that joy does exist in the world; that hope can come to the hopeless, that peace is a possibility even if it’s not presently a reality to many.
Christmas is a party! It’s a celebration! It is Heaven singing in harmony with earth….with sinners reconciled by their Creator….it is joy rolling over our sorrows….hope reigning over our despair….peace reigning in the chaos of our hearts and the brokenness of our world.
And the good news is: The party never has to end!
“Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy….for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior Who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
REFLECTION: As the world’s celebration of Christmas begins, how will our celebration of Christmas as a Christian stand in contrast?