Summary: Christmas stands for the presence of God with us (Immanuel) to meet the pressures of life as they come to us day by day. When our hopes crush, & dreams collapse, the Grace and Love of Jesus is designed to relieve and to bring hope to us. And the result i
A Gift beyond Description
Bishop M A Lalachan.
"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”(Luke 2:10-14NIV)
Historically, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Theologically, Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of God in Jesus, the self-revelation of God to the world in human form for the reconciliation of humanity to Himself. Traditionally Christmas a time of wonder and joy, of generosity and peace that brings family and friends together in celebration and we observe the holy traditions that make the season captivating. Usually we are so preoccupied with the celebration that we forget the celebrant. But the Celebrant is more important than the celebration because the Celebrant is the cause for the celebration. Jesus is the center of Christmas and He is the reason for the season.
The Christmas story begin in the little town of Bethlehem in Israel over 2,000 years ago, a baby was born whose life was destined to affect countless millions. The origin and purpose of Christmas is presented beautifully in the Biblical account of Gospel of Luke. In those days the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This meant that families had to register in their historical tribal town rather than where they lived. So Joseph and the very pregnant Mary would have had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as this was town that Joseph's family, originally came from - a journey of about 105 kilometers. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Lord Jesus came to a stable, and was laid in a manger. His mother had only the straw for a bed.
The world knew not of His birth. Work went on as usual. Cathedral bells failed to toll; bands were silent; no royal choruses burst forth in song. Only the music of Heaven was heard. In fact, God had to arrange a welcome for Himself, and legions of angels circled the skies and heralded His birth. “Out in the fields, an angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were tending their flocks of sheep by night. The angel announced that the Savior had been born in the town of David. Suddenly a great host of heavenly beings appeared with the angels and began singing praises to God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
The birth of Jesus in a little town of Bethlehem forever changed the history of the world. This was not an ordinary birth! The remarkable signal and subsequent proceedings were the evidence that Jesus Christ is the most unique personality ever lived in all history. The Old Testament prophets predicted his coming. The Angel Gabriel announced His arrival. The Angelic host sang a chorus for Him. The brightest star marked His presence. The Wise men came to worship Him. The Shepherds came to honor Him. The Priests knew from the Scripture that He was coming. Jerusalem was troubled at His coming. Simeon, the just and wise man in the Jerusalem temple took Jesus in his arms and blessed God and said “Lord….my eyes have seen your salvation…which you have prepared before the face of all people. Rulers like Herod the king learned of His birth and became fearful and afraid. Anger filled their hearts. Murder was conspired and executed. Fearful of losing their power, they sought his death by every possible means. Demons trembled. Satan became enraged. All hell was allied against Him. But God was watching and He lived in spite of all.
Jesus was born at a time when ignorance, superstition, greed, hatred and hypocrisy prevailed upon the land. The rulers were arrogant and unrighteous. The people were materialistic, indolent and heedless. Purity was forgotten. Morality was neglected. They were intent upon worshipping affluence than adoring God. Those conditions of darkness; impurity and materialism that prevailed before the coming of Christ signify the inner state of man’s heart .There has no fear of God or hunger for spiritual life. People were immersed in the pursuit of the material things. If this state of things must cease and if we must enter into a new life of spiritual aspiration, purity and devotion, then the Christ-spirit must take its birth within our heart. That is the real Christmas when the Divine constituent begins to express itself in the heart of the man. From then onward, light begins to shine where darkness was before. Ignorance gives place to the beginning of wisdom. Impurity is replaced by purity. Hatred ceases and love begins to blossom forth.