My kids, my wife, and I, put up our Christmas tree a little more than a week ago. The kids were really excited to light it up and decorate it with bells, stars, and angels. My wife and I were happy to see our kids so excited and full of joy, given the many difficult days they have endured indoors due to COVID-19.
While we celebrate the season, we are aware that it is a human invention – Bible scholars note that Jesus was likely born in October and not in December. We are also conscious that December 25 honors the birth of Jesus, but many eat, drink, and party on the day, without given a thought about Jesus. Thus, we purposefully reflect on the person of Jesus in line with the reason for the season.
My favorite passage on the birth of Jesus is Luke 2:25-32 (The Message Bible)(shortened): “In Jerusalem… there was a man, Simeon… The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah… [Simeon] entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to [the temple]… Simeon took him… and blessed God: God, you can now release your servant… as you promised. With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation; it’s now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel.”
Simeon states that Jesus is: “a God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations”. It is left to everyone to examine this God-revealing light in the teachings of Jesus, easily accessible in the Bible; compare this with the other lights and wisdom in our world; and decide about the light that shines brightest for you.
While I am impressed by the philosophy of great thinkers, from Plato, to Karl Marx, Ayn Rand, John Rawls, Edward Said, and V.Y. Mudimbe, the clarity Jesus provides on the origins of human suffering, and the structures of the afterlife, has no equal. Thus I celebrate Christmas with joy in Jesus.
Merry Christmas – may you find joy this season, in Jesus name, Amen!