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Merry Christmas! But What does that mean?

Since we are in Christmas mood, I thought a conversation on the meaning and purpose of Christmas may be fitting.

For sure, the Christmas holiday is a welcome break for many from work and business, to connect one more time with friends and family. So, for a lot of hardworking folks all over the country, Christmas is just a well deserved holiday season. It does not hold any spiritual meaning to such persons. Is that why we are doing our best to subsititute 'merry christmas' with 'happy holidays'?

Others go even further. They see Christmas, in addition to a holiday, as a season of joy. A time to be merry and make sure the merry-making goes round. Is that the sense in which we typically greet each other with “Merry Christmas”? And spend a fortune on the good practice of gift-giving?

For the capitalist, it is a good time for business. All kinds of marketing gimmicks abound to drive consumers to spend more and more, both on things they need and things they don’t need. Some people shop until they drop dead.

But what does Christmas mean to you? I challenge you to really do some reflecting.

Christmas is a historically Christian holiday. Whether Christ was born on the 25th of December or not is not the main point here. The issue is that the world has chosen a day to honor Him, and celebrate his birthday. We have some national holidays dedicated to the memory of either some of our past leaders or military heroes. On such days, it is politically correct to sing their praise. Yet, it is politically incorrect to talk about Jesus Christ, the greatest of all leaders, on his own birthday? Give me a break.

Christmas means Christ’ mass. Christ means messiah or savior. Mass is a religious celebration. So, Christmas literally means the celebration of Christ. Christmas is supposed be a day we devote to celebrating Christ. That is exactly what the angel of God meant when he announced his birth to the shepherds: The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger."(Message Bible, Luke 2: 12).

The birth of Jesus Christ was ‘a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide’. He is the Savior, the Messiah and Master. He who is divine has entered the realm of humanity in order to save us. Divine Incarnation! A mystery of the highest magnitude, supreme gesture of love. He gave up his all to be your friend and savior.

But notice the sign the angel gave those shepherds how they would find him. They would find ‘a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger’. The One who is Savior and Lord came to us as a baby, lying in a manger. Think of the lowliness and humility depicted here by this deliberate message God is sending to us. Yet, how grandiose is our celebration of ourselves in all pomp and pageantry, in the name of Christmas.

Matthew gave us another important response to Christ and his mass. “And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11. Those are the ‘Wise men from the East’. The way they celebrated Christ was to worship Him, and to give Him gifts!

I wish we could learn to celebrate Christ at Christmas, and in fact, at all times. A lesson we learn from those wise men from the East. They worshipped Him and their gifts were to Him. Yet, how often we tend to forget Christ himself in all our partying and gift-giving. It is also important we heed God’s sign for us about Christ’ celebration – humble orthodoxy.

Let us celebrate Christ this season. He is the reason for the season. And let us do it in humility, and in worship.

Glory to Jesus Christ, and merry Christmas to you!