Where does Christmas come from? We give each other presents around 25th of December, many put a Christmas tree in their house and we sing songs about angels, shepherds and a child in a manger.
Besides all the fun and the great atmosphere in the month of December, Christmas is all about a Jewish boy who was born in the Middle East at the beginning of our era. In the town of Bethlehem, this boy was born as the son of Joseph and Mary, a young couple.
Does it ring a bell when you hear these names: Bethlehem, Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus? Maybe you participated in a Christmas performance. Maybe you have a Nativity Scene in your home that you put down every year nicely in December. Then you have sheep, shepherds, wise men from the East, angels, a bright guiding star. It all looks so romantic! Christmas is for many people a happy season. We decorate our house and we have great family times. But is this what Christmas is all about?
For some people, it’s a shock to find out that Jesus wasn’t born on the 25th of December. Why we celebrate his birth on that precise date had to do with the ancient midwinter festivals, which were celebrated centuries before Jesus’ birth. The celebration of the birth of Jesus is still on 25th of December. We actually don’t know exactly when he was born. The fact in the story that shepherds were outside in the field is a hint that it was probably spring or summertime.
During the Christmas season, you see many lights in the decoration. Keep that in mind, because it’s also a great reminder of the message of Christmas. The birth of Jesus is like a light that is lit in the darkest darkness. Angels were singing ‘peace on earth’, but this peace wasn’t entering bombastically. The key for peace on earth is the story of a baby boy born in a very average family. This is how God is bringing peace: vulnerable, small and for many just hidden in plain sight.
This baby boy will grow up and his life, his message, his death and resurrection are celebrated until today. Light entered our world. Even a small light can conquer the darkness.
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