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Allow the Christmas story to change you

Christmas crib
Christmas crib | Getty Images/ Pascal Deloche

Every year at this time, I hear Bruce Springsteen’s voice on the radio: “Hey band, you guys know what time of year it is? What time? What? Oh, Christmas time!” Why is Christmas such a big deal? How did Christmas really begin?

Once upon a time came an extraordinary enunciation. It was huge. Insomuch that, ever since, there has been a yearly international party to remember it. “She will bear a son,” it was proclaimed, “and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:22). Truly, that initiated the Christmas story. By an event that would make it possible for humanity to make peace with its Maker and believers could exclaim meaningfully: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased” (Lk. 1:14). So the big deal with Christmas is that the Savior came down to Earth.

If that has become trite for you, then perhaps opportunity knocks. Refresh yourself this season by reacquainting with the meaning of Christmas. You may also discover that the grace of God is far deeper than you imagined.

Throughout the centuries that followed the birth of Christ, human ingenuity has commemorated Christmas by traditions, art, music and novels. The spirit of giving, of benevolence, of peace and charity, and of course, delightful festivities, have all expressed a perennial acknowledgement of God’s gift to humankind.

Throughout the epochs, however, Grinches have always emerged to gripe about the true meaning of Christmas, everything from denying the Virgin Birth to complaining about a Merry Christmas greeting. So many hang-ups continue to impugn the Christmas story. Yet many will celebrate without regards for the Christmas Carol. That’s okay too, “since (God) himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:25).

Defending the veracity of the biblical events of Christmas have their place, but not today. Perhaps another time. It’s time now to exalt our Lord and be merry with our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and families. It’s also time to reflect on giving to the less fortunate, especially if the Lord has blessed you with resources. Buy some groceries and drop them off at your local food bank. Send an e-transfer to a mission house that feeds hungry people every day. Give a present to someone who cannot reciprocate. Truly now is the time to experience a truth that, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

I remember Christmas day in the home of my parents. They made a point of inviting a widow, or an orphan, a single mother, a single person, and a host of different characters who were alone on Christmas. My mom and dad would cook and entertain all day. The Christmas memories that my parents created are treasured. They got it — what Christmas is all about. My wife and I have also made it a point to invite someone who would otherwise be alone on Christmas. If you are in a position to invite someone outside your socio-economic or cultural circle, I encourage you to do so and experience a new dimension to grace. You may even begin a newly treasured Christmas tradition in your household.

Christmas is a reminder of how humanity can experience grace and establish a special relationship with God. We should definitely make merry by commemorating through traditions and festivities on why the Lord Jesus entered the world, and however we can to exercise charity. That’s the Christmas Carol.

Marlon De Blasio is a cultural apologist, Christian writer and author of Discerning Culture. He lives in Toronto with his family. Follow him at MarlonDeBlasio@Twitter

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