“So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7
A story that begins with a barren woman winds its way to a conclusion with the birth of the Son of God. And while it is interesting to examine the character traits and motivations of the key players in this monumental story, and it is fun to project all kinds of “Christmas is…” messages, and it is intellectually stimulating to draw moral conclusions – that is still the conclusion.
Jesus was born.
Throughout the ensuing centuries that fact has never been reasonably challenged. It is indeed a fact. And we have few options to deal with that fact. One, Jesus was a liar. He made up the whole son of God thing and convinced a handful of gullible Jews to go along. Two, he was a crazy man, deluded into believing his grand messianic aspirations. Or three, he was who he said he was.
And if he was who he said he was, who the angel told Elizabeth and Joseph and Mary and the shepherds he was, than a response by the world is demanded and expected. And essential.
Because on this day we celebrate the birth of God’s only son. And he was sent specifically for a purpose, to provide a substitutionary death and atonement for the failures of mankind – as the angel said, “he will save his people from their sins.”
You can enjoy all the traditions that make this time of year special to everyone. The family, the laughter, the meals, the fun. There will be presents bought and exchanged, songs sung, toasts raised in the spirit of the season. But if you are calling this holiday Christmas it behooves you to decide who Jesus was, why he was here, why we still celebrate his birth, why all history pivots around his name.
You have been given the supreme gift – a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. It is up to you what you do with it.
Jesus was born.
Merry Christmas to all.