I rejoice that it is Christmas. I thank God that we have a Christmas holiday. There is in fact no substitute for Christmas that I am aware of and it has often been a major focus in my life. Not everyone is wired the same way and there is no single set of Christmas experiences that rings true as the essence of the season for everyone but there is a chance for joy and celebration in Christmas. Much of the world celebrates Christmas now to some degree even where Christianity itself is not much practiced. And in the United States as when I was in China I was happy to celebrate Christmas with those who chose to try to partake in the spirit of the season more than I was willing to Criticize their falling short of capturing the whole spirit. But it is also important for those of use who are Christians to preserve the religious sense of the holiday and I certainly attempt to do that. So in this post I want to bring up the very central focus of the passages which most define The events Christians celebrate in these days.
Here are some of the Sacred Texts most related to the celebrarion of Christmas. I hope those who are very familiar with them are reminded and those who are not are enlightened about the nature of the celebration. I will make a few points. The passages below have a few editorial amendments made by me — but very few. This is basically a selection of three Bible texts:
My Point Here: Jesus’s birth is not a purely human. Something cosmic has happened with his birth and the Universe and the Creator of the Universe are tied to humanity forever by his being conceived in the Womb of Mary and born among us:
The Word Became Flesh According to John’s Gospel (NIV):
1 In the beginning was the Word (λόγος: Logos –reason, speech, ratio, word, cause, consideration suggesting activity like “Verb”), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. . . . 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
My Point Here for the text below: Jesus had no ordinary human father and this added to all the other troubles into which he was born. The couple had to adjust and both cosmic and psychological adjustments marking his birth abounded. The long out of power Royal House of David was the extended family of both Mary and Joseph. Each had a royal genealogy in Earthly terms. But they were very far from a palace. The ruling family was the House of Herod which in turn was largely subject to Rome. The humiliation of a mysterious pregnancy was yet another sorrow and trouble to work out with limited resources. But they were practical people with some resources of their own and their poverty and troubles can be misunderstood.
Joseph Accepts Jesus as His Son according to Matthew’s Gospel (NIV):
18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage before she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
My Point Here in the Text Below: Merry Christmas! Joy to the World! Jesus was born in the ancestral home of the House of David and amid crowds and chaos suffered in his family and as an infant the humiliation of birth in a manger. But God was faithful to make his birth and event and a cause for celebration.
The Birth of Jesus according to the New International Version translation of the second chapter of Luke’s Gospel:
1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. 21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
All of us would like to do some shopping, feasting and celebrating. It is appropriate to do so. But it is also stressful. I have done lots of odd jobs and have benefited from some acts of generosity and also have achieved success on some projects. But this has been a very tough and depressing year over all with mostly bad situations on all sides. I have empathy for those who cannot do what they wish they could. I also have three gofundme campaigns related to projects that have long been part of my life and are in different stages. Each is available for gifts from those who have an abundance to share. There is a history and heritage project. There is a writing and publishing project. there is a space related project.
If you wish to donate to any of those things they will fund real work and you can access them by clicking the embedded links above. Of course there are many other worthy causes and I am not a devoted fundraiser at heart. But I will acknowledge all donations. Whatever, you do remember that while the season is special and all our friends are special — Christmas is very special as well .