Does anyone seriously believe Jesus was born on 25th December?
Ask your Vicar whether they prefer Christmas or Easter and it is unlikely you’ll get a quick answer. How can anyone prioritise the incarnation over the resurrection – or vice versa. The birth, life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus are why we’re neither Gentile nor Jew. We’re Christians because of Christ: in Christ’s entirety.
Street based vox-pops on “the real meaning of Christmas” will recall the celebration of family, tradition and food more frequently than a mention of Jesus’ Birthday party.
Long ago Christians looked for an opportunity to celebrate the most momentous moments of Jesus’ life. His birth, his death, his resurrection. In the depths of a European winter, it made more sense to celebrate God’s light shining in a dark place than perhaps the crucifixion would have done. Can you imagine the depths of our emotional state were we to recall the death of Christ while the world around us seems dead itself? No, much better to look for hope over a frost-bitten earth.
What is Christmas without Christ? Another party in party season? A family get together? Presents under the tree? Is the emotional and physical exhaustion of Christmas afternoon, simply sadness that it hadn’t been more meaningful?
I’ll be at Church on Christmas morning – and before the traditional food and gift-giving begins, I’ll be spending the first part of the day focussed on Jesus and celebrating his birthday, and all the meaning that this brings into the world and into my life.
Wishing you and very happy Christmas. May God give you joy, peace and wisdom. Graeme.