"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the aw, so that we might receive adoption as sons." Galatians 4:4-5
Every year we are assaulted by the ads, the announcements, & the hullaballoo surrounding Christmas. And each year we are flooded with all the pomp & circumstance of the holiday season earlier & earlier. What once began with Black Friday (no, not Good Friday, but the Friday after Thanksgiving), now begins right after Halloween, or even earlier.
With every sale, however, with every silly song, with every gaudy decoration, & with every extra worry & care, have you ever stopped to think what the would would be like without Christmas? I don't mean what would we do with the coming winter season, would we still find a reason to have parties & celebrations & give gifts. I mean, what truly would the world be like if the birth of Christ had not happened?
First, there would be no Christian church, for there would have been no Christ to worship. We would still be living under the old covenant, & still in hope of the coming Messiah.
Without Christ, we would have no hospitals, hospices, nursing or convalescent homes. These places of care & healing come directly from the church. Before the middle ages, churches were places of refuge, care & comfort for all the people. When the sanctuary itself became too small for all the people who needed physical care, the faithful built & trained people to offer care & healing. But these would not be here, or be vastly different, if Christ had not come.
Without Christ, there would have been no orphanages, no adoption services, no child protection agencies, & even no SPCAs. These, as well, were created by the church & its faithful who wished to see that orphans were cared for, not just fed & kept until they were adults & could fend for themselves. The followers of Christ wanted to care, nourish, educate, comfort, & give the Word to the very least of our brothers, the smallest & most helpless. And the love of Christ flowed out from the church to even embrace the welfare of animals & pets that God paced under our governance & care.
Without Christ, we would not have the true basis of compassion, mercy, & grace that still flows through the world today. Only through the life, death & resurrection of Jesus do we have not only the perfect example of grace (perfect grace that proclaimed, "Father, forgive them", even to the ones carrying out His execution & the ones cheering on His death), but the power of that forgiveness that re-creates us to be carriers, conduits, & minister of that grace & forgiveness.
But we do have Christ. He was born. At just the right time in the history of this world, the Father sent His Son, born of a woman, born to fulfill the Law, born to suffer our death, born to save us from our sin. His birth, His beginning, is our beginning. His life accomplished to be our life. His death is our death. His resurrection is the beginning of our new life, new eternal life.
So we celebrate because we know the true glory of this time. Not the gory of mistletoe & holly, nor the glory of lights & tinsel, nor parties & presents, but the glory of a weak baby boy lying in a feed trough, the brilliance of a perfect life, the splendor of a sacrificial death, & the glory of a resurrection into heavenly light.
So Merry Christmas, Joyous Celebration of Christ's Birth