“. . .All this took place that it might be fulfilled which the Lord had spoken through the prophet, Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel — which, when translated, means, ‘God with us’…” Matthew 1:22-23
The festivities of Christmas are upon us again. It is a time of celebration, sharing, and of love. It is a time for the preparation of goodies, wrapping up of gifts, singing of Christmas carols and decorating the Christmas tree. It is a time to remember and re-enact the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It is also a time to acknowledge the grace and mercy of our loving father in Heaven who sent His one and only begotten son onto this earth for the salvation of all mankind so that they may be saved. Christmas is also a time to renew our promise of harmony and forgiveness with the world.
D. Todd Williamson in his book, ‘Great is the Mystery: Encountering the Formational Power of Liturgy’ talks beautifully about Christmas being a time of unity between God and man. Peace on earth is a familiar phrase during the Yuletide season. Biblically speaking, peace on earth is not just the absence of violence or confrontation. Rather, peace, or shalom, is that reality that occurs when heaven and earth become united in the hearts of people. Peace is what occurs when humanity and divinity become one; when everything ‘fits’, is connected, or makes sense. Peace is the result of reconciliation, when that which is broken or disconnected, becomes reconciled or reunited. Through the incarnation, God has reconciled the world to Himself. Peace has been given to us once and for all. Our faith calls us to stand in the face of obstacles and to remain firm in our conviction that Jesus Christ is more powerful than anything that threatens to keep us away from Him. Joseph and the shepherds, wise men and women, and simple folk are all given the same hope-filled message, “Peace and tidings of great joy!”
This is just the message that many of us need as we go about our lives that are torn by hopelessness, despair, persecution, disease and tragedy. Mary and Joseph are repeatedly told by God’s angels that despite all the stressful and confusing things that are happening around them, they are not to be afraid; they are not to lose hope. We need to remember Christ’s birth as a symbol of the fulfillment of God’s promise to His chosen ones. We need to hold onto the event that broke through all perceived notions to bring forth the miracle of a virgin birth. We need to reiterate our belief that when God wishes, He can change the rules of creation in order to purify His children and purge them of a lowly life and bring them at par with divinity. Nothing can reassure us more of God’s love than that of the birth of Jesus Christ. As Christians, that is the only thing we need. Merry Christmas!!