We come again to that season of the year where a nation—indeed a (western) civilization—pauses to recognize the birth of a man because it is somehow more than the birth of a man. That absurd and impossible founding event—that scandal. The idea that God would appear—not as a king, president, CEO, billionaire, or conquering hero—but as a helpless child, laying in a manger, in a stable, in the middle of nowhere. But nowhere, that day, became the center of the universe. The incarnation was not an invention; it was an intervention.
Now we give gifts. We travel to one another. We gather and feast together. We share with the less fortunate. We open our homes. We mimic the hospitality of God. It is a holiday, which is a “holy” day. It arises out of this narrative, out of this history, this birth, this man.
There is no escaping this man and his influence (Pity the poor atheist–he has to live in this world and not the one in his own imagination). The history of the West, our world, art, music, architecture, politics, science, education, hospitals, orphanages, our very calendar and measurement of time, and any other significant area of life has been affected (even birthed) by Jesus Christ and his Church. An understanding of Europe, America, and the West in general is impossible apart from understanding the influence of Jesus Christ and his followers. As someone has well said, “When He was born, he turned aside the river of the ages out of its course and lifted the centuries off their hinges.”
Now in this wonderful and beautiful season, we remember a baby, a man, a life, the world taken up in redemption, and the gift of God (Emmanuel-God with us), life, joy, peace, and hope. There has been only one event in history—it is THE event: God became man. Everything else is derivative. Such is the only reason we can say, and we do now to friends and family everywhere, God bless each one and merry Christmas to all.