*** VERY LONG *** (Get a cup of coffee or tea)
I don’t send very many Christmas cards out. We bought a package or two of cards this year and I believe that we’ve managed to send out but one.
It seems, time runs up on us and now days. If getting on a bit in years teaches any lesson more than another, it may be the lesson that time and our loved ones are our most treasured resource.
Time is a blur and by the time I think about sending out cards, it it’s a bit too late to do because they would never arrive at the destination and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt someone special will be missed. Not because THEY are not as special as the others but only that the clutter of time obscures the objective which is to impart of every soul I treasure and know personally the blessings of the season.
So rather than a pretty card with short quips that convey a solitary message for the season I’m choosing to do this here on social media and email to friends and family whom I can reach with these tools. The ones I can’t I will do the best to pick up the phone and call on Christmas day to convey these thoughts and wishes.
And yes, like the Christmas card when this next week is over, I will have inadvertently missed someone that I really wished to convey this message of joy and hope at this specific time. But, you know we should never rely on a specific day to give thanks, or a time of year to spread joy, or an event to provide hope. These are things we should do each and every day we are given the opportunity to do that. It should be a core activity of our life as we walk in the will of God.
So it is that we are approaching the day we celebrate a birth of at what first blush is but a child. We mark this what would be the most notable birth in the world’s history on a day that isn’t even his real birth date, but a time when we have designated; be it out of habit, tradition, or whatever cause. Something it isn’t designated for is the winter solace as the American Atheist would have people believe. That surely doesn’t happen on this 25th day of December every year. This year the solstice is going to be the 21st of December. (Oh ginkies! Today is that day! As I pen this note).
With the declaration by Emperor Constantine declared the 25th to be the day to celebrate the birth of our Lord for the western world and while some churches in the eastern world rallied around January 6th for this (Epiphany) it stuck. In fact perhaps as early as 273 the 25th was embraced by the Christian church not to embellish pagan celebrations during a similar time period but to supplant them; replacing pagan worship with worship of the “Son of Righteousness”.
In fact, scholars have never pinpointed the birthdate of Christ. Perhaps the best guesses put the date between the 18th and 21st of May.
But alas this is of little or no consequence to the believer. Because, though the world acknowledges the birth of our savior on December 25th each year we as Christians celebrate that birth with every breath of every day.
So if this message happens by you a few days before, on Christmas day, or later, the message itself is always fresh, always valid, and always true.
Luke 2:11 (NIRV)
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord.
That is the message behind the day. The Son of God, who was with God before the creation of the world, and had his hand in everything that was created. Accepted the task given by his Father to become flesh in the form of an infant frail and meek, born to a poor woman, a virgin, betrothed to a simple carpenter.
He came knowing the path he would travel on this world. Knowing the outcomes. Knowing that he would walk among his own and his own would know him not. That this that he created would reject him and bring ultimate pain and suffering to him. He came regardless. He came because there was a new covenant that he intended to establish between humanity and God.
He came as a baby to die on a cross with the weight of all of the sin of mankind for all time to come on his shoulders, so that his blood might be shed in atonement for the sin of every man, woman and child. To present those who accepted his sacrifice on their behalf to stand blameless before his Father.
Then his final act on this earth before he ascended into heaven was to destroy death forever by returning from the dead three days later, assuring those who believe in the Christ that death has no power of over him or them.
It is a message for every day, and any day. And yes it is especially a message for Christmas day.
To all who read this, I wish you joy in the knowledge of what our LORD and savior has done for us. Joy to the word the LORD has come. I pray for you and wish for you that this above all other things abides with you now at Christmas time, but all year long. And that you allow Christ to rule in your life and you allow him to work though you to spread this message to all who will hear it. And by hearing they too may share that joy!
Have a blessed Christmas!