This world has gone through one of the worst years in history in 2020. The Covid 19 pandemic, raging all over the globe; rioting in the streets, from the United States, to Europe, to South America — virtually everywhere in the world. More evil plotting, killing and ranting by Muslim dictators, probably the most contemptible national leaders in world history. And a U.S. presidency stolen from Donald Trump by the shameless scheming Democrats.
But … in just two weeks, we will be celebrating Christmas Day, the birthday of the Savior of Mankind, Jesus Christ. Even in this horrible year, this, the greatest of all holidays, should make us stop, pause, consider our lives, and conclude that, without Christmas and what it means, life would be incredibly worse for all of us.
There are annual holidays celebrated by the faithful of all religions, of course. But no holiday has spread over the world, even to nations where the majority is not Christian, as has Christmas. True, in the non-Christian countries the celebration tends to involve more of Christmas decorations, colorful Yuletide lights, Santa Claus or his name in that language, and other aspects that are not specifically Christian. But the basics, the Reason for the Season, are always recognized.
Of course, members of other, non-Christian religious faiths, don’t necessarily believe that Jesus died on the Cross — essentially, by His own choosing — to save Mankind from condemnation for sin. ALL Mankind. But then, we Christians don’t necessarily believe all the things that Jews, or Muslims, or Hindus, or others, believe about their holidays, either. But, we all should respect other people’s religion, and not condemn or ridicule it as “wrong,” “made-up,” or other such insults. Even the Muslims, who since the 18th Century seem to have made a sacrament out of killing non-Muslims, trying to force them to convert or be killed, and other horrors. Remember that most believers in Islam do not do those things.
Will the arrival of Christmas Eve wipe out all the horror, unhappiness, hatred, that have cursed the world this horrible year? No, obviously not. But for a couple of days, we’ll focus on what this Greatest of All Holidays means, to Christians, and I suspect to more people of other, or no, religious faith than we would suspect.
Has there been any other instance in history, when the Son of a lowly carpenter and his wife, who learned His father’s trade, realized in His early adult life that His reason for being born on this earth was far, far higher than that? That He was actually the Only Son of Almighty God, who had sent Him to earth to preach the Gospel, convert many, many people of His time, then sacrifice His own life, in order that billions of humans into the future thousands of years could be saved from their own sins? No, I don’t think so. Not that I’ve ever heard of.
But so many of us over the centuries have been influenced by the Savior, whether we realized it or not. Saint Nicholas, who many centuries later became known as Santa Claus, dropped money down the chimney of that modest house of the poor, ill man and his daughters — and spent the rest of his life helping needy people at Christmastime. Ebenezer Scrooge, who had become obsessed with his own wealth, and cared about nothing else, went through the visits of three Ghosts one Christmas Eve, and as a result of what he learned, came back to humanity and compassion. George Bailey wanted for many years to “shake the dust” of Bedford Falls from his feet, and go out and conquer the world. But he never got to. And one Christmas Eve, he found out that the Lord had chosen to make him stay in Bedford Falls, because he was needed to help so many people there — which he did, willingly, over the years.
And Santa Claus is beloved by children over the world because of how he favors the young people, and is seen enjoying time with them in countless portraits, photos, videos, etc. What sparked his love for our kids? Look at the picture on this page of Jesus, sitting and chatting with a group of such children. Any further explanation needed?
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are the most important two days in the world’s calendar. They have made this a much better world than it would have been otherwise.
To all who have read this column, I wish you a very Merry Christmas. And please, don’t forget The Reason For the Season.