If you're anything like me (that's a freebie; you're welcome), you probably like the idea of Christmas. You might have grown up looking forward to the day at least as much as your own birthday--- if not more--- for nearly every day of the year within a few weeks of its annual passing. It was magical and ethereal, full of twilight dreams, crystal lights, soft-lens reality and whispers from angels. Even the weather seemed to conspire in reverie, blanketing the ground with soft, quieting snow.
There's a general consensus that we must all be civil this time of year, must break from any vestiges of our otherwise selfish nature, must treat one another as we wished to be treated. We become the people our natures' better angels constantly implore us to be: giving, selfless, loving, kind. Tears of redemption, cleansing, joy all cascade, another chorus joining the concert of light.
But it's not real. None of it is, really. It's simply a manufactured spike of emotion planted with the hopes of birthing a tree--- a forest--- of real, live faith. There are no commands from God to celebrate the birth of His Messiah. Nothing from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself that implores us to not forget this day. In fact, the day itself is mostly lost to speculation. We know it was sometime in the late summer, perhaps early fall, but that's about as close as we can get.
It's a confusing day: giving gifts to others when the kid in us screams 'where's my stuff!?' all in the supposed celebration of God sending His Messiah. But it's charming and, again, magical. God of creation, helpless in a manager, tenuously alive hanging by a thread of sheer luck, chased from established lodgings and forced to unfold its drama in an open barn. Its commonality feels so good, offers so much hope. If God could possibly submit Himself to such degradations, such humility, surely, couldn't He offer Himself to me?
He did. He has. Merry Christmas, friends.