The Christmas story is the world’s greatest news story. Indeed, the birth of Jesus Christ more than two-thousand years ago is the greatest event of all time.
The Christmas story is the story of a loving God who came and dwelt among His creatures in the person of the Babe of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ—”the Desire of all nations”; of lowly shepherds and heavenly angels; of a Virgin Mother and her manger-cradled Babe; of a wondrous star and Wise Men who followed it.
The Christmas story is the story of a loving God, who is concerned for, and involved in, this world. The meaning of the birth of Christ lies in its demonstration of the presence of God in human life. God declared His love for His creation, humankind, in a strange and very unlikely manner: Sending His Son into the world in the form of a new-born baby! This new-born baby is Emmanuel — “God with us.” Thus, the God we find in Christmas has revealed His true nature in Jesus Christ. Jesus declared this love of the Father God for His children in word, deed, and life. Apostle Paul testified: “God demonstrated His love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
God, the Greatest Lover of all, requires of His children that they love Him and love one another. “Love God with your whole heart, soul and whole mind (Dent. 6:5). And “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Lev. 13:18). St. Paul admonishes the Christians of the first century, “Owe no debt to anyone except that which binds us to love one another.”
The Christmas story is the story of lowly shepherds sharing their experience with others. The shepherds, keeping watch by night over their flocks in the fields around Bethlehem, were told by an angel of God that on that day a Savior was born in Bethlehem for humankind. First, the herald angel revealed to the shepherds the sign of the manger by which they would find and know the new-born Savior. The shepherds hastened across the fields of Bethlehem. There, in a stable, they found Joseph, Mary, and the Babe lying in a manger. They knelt in adoration before Him. “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told” (Luke 2:20). They went forth from the hallowed manger scene to share their experience with others.
The Shepherds of Bethlehem were the first to receive the angelic tidings of the Savior’s birth. They were also the first witnesses of the Christmas Gospel, they were first Spirit-filled messengers! From that day on, those who are witnesses of the Good News feel obligated to share their experiences with others.
The Christmas story is the story of divine and human gifts. The Christmas story is the story of the Magi—the Wise Men—who saw the Christmas star and came to pay homage and give their gifts to the newborn King of the Jews. These were men of wisdom who thought clearly and acted wisely. They were men who were studying the stars and some strange phenomenon in the sky brought them to Judea in search of a new-born king.
After their curious meeting with King Herod in search of the newborn, the Wise Men left the palace and started out for Bethlehem. Guided by the star they went into the house, and found the Christ Child, with his mother. They fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they gave Jesus gold and rare perfumes called frankincense and myrrh.
The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of giving. The one example in the Christmas story of the giving of material gifts is that of the Wise Men who offered gifts to the Christ Child. But, in a larger sense, Christmas stands for God’s gift of love to mankind. Christmas began with the gift of the Christ Child. God gave us the greatest Christmas present anyone could ever conceive. He gave us Himself, so that we might have abundant life. Because God gave at Christmas, we give gifts to loved ones and friends to express our appreciation to them. This is just one dimension. There is, however, another important aspect of Christmas: our concern for the less fortunate, the poor, the aged, and the disabled. This may mean making a financial contribution to a worthy cause. It may involve an act of kindness or an expression of caring or brightening someone’s day. This Christmas will be a meaningful one if we make our Christmas gifts to our needy brothers and sisters in Lebanon who are going through a difficult time in their personal and collective lives since October 17, 2019, due to the prevailing political and economic instability of the country.
Yes, Christmas is the story of a loving God, Who is concerned for the well-being of His creatures; it is the story of sharing the Good News of God’s love with others; and offering our gifts to the needy. When we do these Christmas becomes a most meaningful celebration.
Merry Christmas to you all!