Another Christmas is done and dusted! How was yours? Thankfully, ours was peaceful and relaxing. I managed to avoid any family conflict or discord this year. Given the love-hate relationship many people have with Christmas, it is easy to understand the negativity that surrounds this annual Christian celebration.
Regardless of whether Christmas has a spiritual meaning for you or not; if one can pare back all the man-made trappings that the festive season brings especially in the developed world, the Christmas message can be a powerful one.
Take away the window dressing of tinsel and baubles, giant Santas and cherubic images to imagine a much more humble setting. Outcasts are driven from their home to seek shelter in a stable because there is no other place for them. Mary and Joseph bed down with the animals to await the arrival of their child. All across the world women give birth to babies every day. It is a source of wonderment that a new being comes into the world nine months after conception. What makes the nativity scene such a love story is not only the bond shared by the parents of Jesus but that God so loved his only son and was prepared to let him live as one of us and hopefully lead us to the cross. It is a story of hope in a world that is so bereft of it. For me, it illustrates the beauty of this humble beginning that says fear not if you are not rich or powerful; you matter regardless.
The sermon message on Christmas Day at my local church was one of how Jesus has come to serve the lowly (insert disadvantaged, poor, abused, bullied, exploited etc) not the wealthy and powerful. Some will say this smacks of left-wing politics but then social justice requires advocating for those who don’t have a voice.
Living in a secular climate that seeks to remove or reduce God to a nice fairy tale; there is still a justification for the celebration of Christmas. Journalist, Greg Sheridan explores this in his commentary “Christmas Story Still Resonates” in the Weekend Australian (Sheridan 2019). Sheridan’s says ” Christmas remains the most universal, powerful symbol of both humanity and divinity, not only in the West but in the entire world.” He makes note of the historical events that surround the Christian story and points us towards some creditable authors including historian John Dickson who has recently published, “Is Jesus History?”. Sheridan makes the point that supreme gods in other religions, do not compare to the treatment that the Christian god endures via defeat on earth, arrested, tortured, humiliated and killed most cruelly and grotesquely (Sheridan 2019).
Like many others, I enjoy the festivities that Christmas brings but it is the simple tale of love come down that makes me want to bother with Christmas and offers hope in the new year ahead.
Sheridan, Greg (2019), “Christmas Story Still Resonates”, Weekend Australian, December 21-22. pp13 & 16.
4 thoughts on “Christmas…why bother?”
I love what you wrote about the humble experience of Christ’s birth and the “humble beginning that says fear not if you are not rich or powerful; you matter regardless”. It’s a lovely and comforting thought to feel love and kindness, but people cannot be forced or made to project that love and kindness to others. It comes from within. It makes a difference when people join together for the good of others… and done in a peaceable and positive manner. In this country I see more of the left ranting and raging about forcing that issue. Ugly protesting and violence become a common way of forcing change. It will never work. Flourishing and progress happens when we want to work together and the beauty of helping, giving and acting in love becomes a gift we give others and ourselves. What better feeling is there to know that we are loved and cared about… especially by a total stranger? And how lovely is it to know you made a difference by giving of yourself? I have felt humbled many times when I was loved when I least expected it. I have felt elation each time I’ve been able to hand that on to another who is down on their luck and life. I hope for a common love and respect of humanity and mother earth. I also believe in working hard and doing your part. It’s a balance of life when we can all work and help each other achieve our best selves. Being humble has a lot to do with that.
I’m pretty sure I run with the wild animals for a good reason. I think being born in a stable is the grandest place in the world to start out! 🙂 A blessed New Year to you, Lynn!
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I love your response. We all come into this world with nothing and go out the same way. If I can live a life that makes a difference to others in the little things as well as the big things, then it is a life worth living. In a world full of ugliness, the Christmas story has a beauty and humility that resonates with us. The current bush fire situation in Australia is showing the best and worse of human nature. Amongst the sadness is stories of everyday people doing incredible acts of kindness and practical things to help those impacted. The human spirit can survive because such compassion is shown. We need to look out for one another because some will be so traumatised by recent events. The impact on our beautiful wildlife is heartbreaking as well. Hoping and praying for rain and an end to the fires. One thing we can all do is lobby our politicians to show leadership and change policies that are not working for the well-being of the people and our planet. Our silence will not help.
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We see daily updates here in the US on your wildfire situation. One local news channel went into an explanation about a more than five-year drought there, and how the geography and topography also plays a role in making your fires very different than the ones we experience in various parts of our country. I pray for rain for you… and I understand temperatures have cooled a bit which could help as well. I have always believed when numbers of people come together for a good cause (prayer from around the world in this case) that change can happen. Let’s hope you get relief soon.
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Temperatures have cooled but are on the way back up by the end of this week. It is going to be a long, hot summer. It has certainly turned people’s summer holidays upside down. Our nearby Alpine NP has been closed to all this week and a state of disaster has been declared by the premier of Victoria. Lots of wonderful support being offered from across the globe.
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