I want to take a moment to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. I hope that it has a meaning beyond the typical commercial consumption and, yes, even the simple “Jesus’ Birthday” message. In fact, let me share what the Christmas Season means to me.
I should start out by saying that I am a follower of Christ. What that means to me is that the season definitely carries some significance regarding my faith. But that significance probably isn’t what you might expect from a Bible-believing Christian such as myself.
I know that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th, and as far as I’m concerned, I really find no reason to be concerned with when he might have been born. There’s a lot of speculation as to the likely time of year, and some of it makes sense, but when it’s all summed up, I’m just not that interested in knowing. As far as the supposed sanctity of the event, there really isn’t anything to suggest that there’s any relevance to it at all.
The Bible is very particular about which days are to be considered “holy,” or “set apart.” The Old Testament–the Torah, or first five books–is clear as to the dates, the manner of celebration, and the reasons for the celebrations. Many of the significant events of the New Testament actually coincide with the original Holy Days: the eve of Passover is Good Friday, Early First Fruits is Easter, and the Feast of Weeks is Pentecost. Many Christians believe the Holy Days to be prophesies concerning the arrival of the Messiah, with the corresponding events in the life and death of Jesus to be their fulfillment. The Holy Days that occur during the fall are believed to be waiting until Jesus’ return for their culmination.
With all of that said, it’s interesting that Christmas appears to have no corresponding Jewish festival. Perhaps this is because his death and resurrection are far more consequential that the event of his birth. The only thought I can impart to the phenomenon is that the date of his birth is irrelevant.
So then, what’s the big deal about Christmas? In my mind at least, these two points sum it up:
- Jesus was, in fact, born, and his life had meaning. I think that, although we don’t really know the exact date of his birth, we can be confident that celebrating his birth is not a meaningless pursuit, and;
- Much of the emphasis of the season–hope, joy, peace, generosity, gratitude, love–are all laudable and relevant to the practicing of faith in Jesus.
Sitting here at my keyboard, I don’t know if you’re Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Agnostic, or whatever, but I do know this: the virtues extolled during the Christmas season are not just for one faith, but for all of mankind.
So, without anything beyond the wish for those virtues to bless your life during the coming year, I wish you a Merry Christmas.