With the lights, trees and presents, as well as the myriad of familial commitments, it is easy to lose track of what is really important this Christmas season: the birth of Jesus. The reason is that the miracle of the virgin birth of God, coming to save humanity gives deeper meaning to the traditions, and is at risk of being trivialized by the secular celebrations.
The point here is not to condemn secular celebrations of Christmas or those who do not celebrate Christmas at all, but to remind people why this is so important. So do not take this as derogatory to non-believers, but remember the Truth and importance of what the Nativity means and why this meaning must be preserved. After all, that’s what Christmas is really all about.
As most people know, the birth of Jesus came about when an angel asked Mary if she would have the child of God. When she accepted this task, Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and without physical intercourse. Therefore, Jesus was the son of God, and Joseph was his father on Earth alone.
The Three Wisemen saw a star and followed it to Bethlehem. They asked Herod to see the king of the Jews, and he asked them to tell him when they find the King of the Jews. The Wisemen find him, offer gifts and leave without telling Herod. Herod then orders the killing of the young boys in Bethlehem, which forces Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt until Herod’s death.
What It Means
The first part of the story when Mary accepts the task God asks of her shows His respect for free will and asserts that people are able to chose to accept or deny God. The fact that God sets up that boundary shows the love He has and exemplifies the love people should show each other: one which does not force or coerce, but invites and welcomes.
Virgin Birth of God
The next part is the most crucial and incredible. The idea that Jesus was born despite Mary being a virgin, means that He is the Son of God. He is the Logos, the What-Is-Not, the I Am, Creator of the Universe becoming human and being born of a woman. Reading John’s account of the story reminds the reader of this. This is God- the Word, or Logos- becoming man to express Truths that cannot be understood
in any fashion without being spoken and taught the way Jesus did.
The Wisemen are another interesting part of the story. They were monotheistic kings or priests from Persia who followed an astronomical anomaly across the Middle East to see what they believed would be something of divine nature. This story shows two things. One is the type of dedication, faith and wisdom necessary to seek God properly and to recognize Him in life the way the Wisemen did. The other is the recognition of the natural world as well. The stars aligned and the camels and oxen reacted to Jesus’ presence. What this shows is the power of God to demand natures’ “attention,” for lack of a better word, and that it is natural to seek and recognize God- not a human construct- because God preceded and created all of nature.
Fleeing To Egypt
The last part is an obvious allusion to the stories in Genesis and Exodus. In Genesis, Joseph is sold by his brothers into slavery, but they have to flee to Egypt to escape famine at home. They are freed by the plague which kills the first born son of the Egyptians. The opposite happens here as the killing of the first born sons causes Mary and Joseph to flee to Egypt. Joseph, Mary’s husband, learns of the danger in a dream, which is what the other Joseph was known for, and is what rescued him from slavery.
This paragraph is my interpretation of the similarity of these events, not any church doctrine. I believe this symbolizes the breaking the chains of slavery in Egypt. God sends his Son to Egypt because that is the symbol of the slavery that held back the Jews. When Jesus comes to redeem us, it makes sense that he would go to Egypt to symbolize the breaking of the chains of death which he will do. This forebodes the Death and Resurrection as all three are a decent into a lowly state and being brought up and each time defeating death.
As you celebrate Christmas, remember what you are celebrating. It is the day that God became man to save us from sin and death. That is a beautiful thing that gives more meaning to the family gatherings, nativity scenes, Christmas trees, lights and presents.
It is great to enjoy the aesthetics of Christmas. It is good to spend time with loved ones, give gifts and be joyful. It is important to remember what it is that gives meaning to all the traditions of the Christmas season, and that is God, because without Him there would be no love, joy or beauty to experience and appreciate. So thank Him when you get the chance and remember to keep the Christ in Christmas.
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