The Real Meaning of Christmas
Old Testament Reading- Isaiah 9:1-7
New Testament Reading- Matthew 1:18-25
By Henry J. Rafferty CP -December 24, 2021
Pandemics and politics, wars and rumors of wars, drug violence, gun violence, corporate greed, government wasteful spending, racism, sexism, genderphobia, all these and many more can be seen and heard on the daily news, YUCK, I am just so sick of all of it, but this is the world we live in, and this is the world, that unfortunately, we can become so accustomed to that we begin to not notice that it affects us greatly. It changes us in subtle ways, gradually, so that it is barely noticeable, until it has changed us so much that all of our society, and even our entire world is changed, and not for the better if we are not careful. For the kind of world I just described is a world that is increasingly uninterested in God, and completely oblivious to the fact that God is the one, and only one, who can actually save us from all of it.
A man marched through the grocery store three days before Christmas with a sour look on his face and a heart filled with anger. He said, “I hate Christmas, all this rushing and pushing makes by blood boil.” “You know what?” he said, “I hate Christmas music too, all this merry making, what a bunch of hypocrites.” “All I see is a bunch of fake people buying presents for people they can’t even stand to be around most of the time.” “And these stores, they are so greedy for money that they bring all this holiday stuff out by Halloween, ridiculous.”
It sure does to me, maybe it sounds familiar because maybe it’s you! Possibly there is a little bit of this in all of us at certain times, but I try to fight it if it rears its ugly head. “Humbug,” that infamous expression of Ebenezer Scrooge, and the lament of another beloved character, Dr. Suess’ Grinch cries out, “They’ll sing, and they’ll sing, and they’ll sing, sing, sing, sing, when he thought of all those who’s down in Whoville enjoying themselves at Christmas.” Both of these characters would have loved to stop Christmas and maybe even they were bothered by all the commercialism of it, but both had a change of heart by the end of their tales. You see, just like in Charlie Brown’s Christmas, we may be surrounded by those who don’t know the real reason for Christ’s mass, and we may even be made fun of by people in Hollywood and elsewhere for our faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, but I believe that the goodness, that is Christmas, or we often say, the Spirit of Christmas that most people feel is given them by the author and creator of all things good and that that purest of love can soften the hearts of even the most miserable of people. God, our Father has that power.
That night long ago, when the star and the angels proclaimed the Holy birth of the babe in a manger, a night that would forever change the world and everything in it, including you and me. That night was the birth of God’s Christ, His Messiah, His beloved Son. That night was the beginning of the perfect life of Jesus Christ who would later fulfill His destiny to die and be resurrected to life again as the Savior of the whole world, and all of this, this holiday that we celebrate, whether you realize it or not, would never have happened if not for this night of God’s greatest gift of love long ago.
So, in this busy world, we, the believers in Christ that was sent, must learn to recognize those who believe that Christmas is a humbug and show them a different way, not by shoving our faith down their throats, but by our love. By our actions, let us that follow Christ be a good and godly example to a world that is so chaotic and self-centered, but a world that is still loved by God, none the less, and whose people we are commissioned by Jesus to show love and mercy. Just as Charlie Brown learned that Christmas is not about a funny looking tree, but about the love that God has shown us by sending His only Son and celebrating with believers and all of creation the selfless gift that is Christ the Lord.
"By our actions, let us that follow Christ be a good and godly example to a world that is so chaotic and self-centered, but a world that is still loved by God, none the less, and whose people we are commissioned by Jesus to show love and mercy." ~ Pastor Henry Rafferty
Thanks be to Almighty God for His wonderful gift of love, and to you and yours a very Merry Christmas. Amen.