To say Christmas of 2020 was different is an understatement of global proportions. And yet, we celebrated.
We marked the days on Advent calendars. We spent time with loved ones. Under the cloud of Covid19, we creatively raised funds and organized ways to help those in need have food to eat and presents for their children. Our worship services were smaller, muffled by masks and yet amplified by our need to come together to mark the birth of a baby more than 2,000 years ago.
Even non-Christians celebrated Christmas with gatherings of family and friends, special feasts, and gifts. They might claim it’s not about Jesus, that it’s all about Santa Claus and an excuse to over-indulge, but I believe that deep down, they know.
It doesn’t matter if Jesus was actually born on Dec. 25 (the Bible doesn’t say for sure, but He probably wasn’t). What matters is not the when but the what: Our Savior came to Earth as a baby, as God incarnate, who lived unremarkably for most of His life, until His ministry began just three short years before His physical death and resurrection.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14, NIV)
I recently saw a transcript of a commentary by the late Harry Reasoner that he delivered on ABC News on Christmas Eve 1973. As it is now, the world was in turmoil then—the Watergate scandal, economic woes, conflicts in the Middle East, terrorism, and more.
Here’s what Harry Reasoner said:
“Christmas is such a unique idea that most non-Christians accept it, and I think sometimes envy it. If Christmas is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the Universe in the form of a helpless baby, it’s quite a day. It’s a startling idea, and the theologians, who sometimes love logic more than they love God, find it uncomfortable. But if God did do it, He had a tremendous insight.
“People are afraid of God and standing in His very bright light. But everyone has seen babies and almost everyone likes them. So if God wanted to be loved as well as feared, He moved correctly here. And if He wanted to know people, as well as rule them, He moved correctly, because a baby growing up learns all there is to know about people.
“If God wanted to be intimately a part of Man, He moved correctly. For the experience of birth and familyhood is our most intimate and precious experience.
“So it comes beyond logic. It’s what a bishop I used to know called a kind of divine insanity. It is either all falsehood or it is the truest thing in the world. It is the story of the great innocence of God the baby. God in the power of Man. And it is such a dramatic shot toward the heart, that if it is not true, for Christians nothing is true.
“So even if you did not get your shopping all done, and you were swamped with the commercialism and frenzy, be at peace. And even if you are the deacon having to arrange the extra seating for all the Christmas Christians that you won’t see until Easter, be at peace. The story stands.
“It’s all right that so many Christians are touched only once a year by this incomparable story. Because some final quiet Christmas morning, the touch will take.”
Christmas is true. It’s the promise of God kept in an amazing way. There is a strength and power in Christmas that is unmatched by any other holiday, by any other event in history. And if we take the time to look for it, we can see the spirit of Christmas every day of the year.
Be at peace.
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