Carols, crib and Santa make their regular visit this time of the year, almost from nowhere. The winter nip warms up with their presence. The thin December air is coloured with illuminated decorations and brightly lit Christmas trees.
Together with the spirit of festivity there is joy and cheer everywhere as the first Christmas when Christ the Saviour was born is remembered and celebrated.
The first Christmas dates back to more than 2000 years ago in an obscure town of Bethlehem. The feeble cries of a new born babe, resonates in an insignificant stable.
The star of Bethlehem shines bright acting as a beacon in the sky for the three wise men from the East in search of the Divine Child.
Choirs of angels sing in unison rejoicing the birth of the King of Kings. Shepherds flock the crib where the child sleeps in a manger.
This wonderful scene depicts the birth of Jesus who came into the world to light up the darkness of man’s sinful life.
Yet, it also stands as one of the most ironic of all sights to see the Son of God humbled in a stable. And this precisely is the message of Christmas.
Bob Synder said it so well, “The first Christmas is a miraculous story of the eternal God’s Son, becoming of no reputation and then humbling Himself to accept a cruel death on a cross. Sure there were angel choirs. Kings came from far away to worship Him. But the true Christmas story is about smallness, humility and servant hood.”
Much as Santa and gifts dominate the modern Christmas, Christmas is really all about Christ, God’s only begotten son gifted to man.
As Vance Hauner rightly put it, “Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts: the gift of God to man – His Son; and the gift of man to God when…we first give ourselves to God.”
The true spirit of Christmas is all about giving, sharing and taking part in God’s larger plan for all humanity to live and love in peace and universal brotherhood.
Embracing the true message of Christmas should take precedence over “jingle bells” and “Santa Claus.” As Pastor Norman Vincent Peale would often exhort, “Nothing during the year is as impressively convincing as the vision Christmas brings of what would be if love became the daily practice of human beings.”
Just as God gave His son, giving freely of our money, time, resources and most importantly of our love to others is the best way to honour the birthday of Jesus Christ. There is much wisdom in the words, “he who has not Christmas in his heart
will never find it under a tree.”