Christmas is two short days from now. If you are in the throes of last-minute gift buying, hampered by social distancing restrictions with mail and package delivery delays, I feel for you - but not too much.
As I get older every year, I ponder how much further we have come from the real celebration of Christmas.
In the eighth century B.C., the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah predicted the coming of the Messiah nearly 3,000 years ago. More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea as predicted by Isaiah and other books of the Old Testament.
The Bible is basically a library of individual, but related, “books” written by various authors before and after Christ lived. The Old Testament tells the story of God’s chosen people - their rises and failures and predicts the birth of a Savior who will restore the Jewish people to the prominence they had when David was King.
There are volumes of theology to dig through if you desire to really learn more and requires some understanding of the Covenants between God and man that began with Adam and ended with the New (final) Covenant instituted by Jesus Christ.
The Hebrews assumed the Messiah would be a great king who would free them from external rule and fulfill all the promises for a New Jerusalem. They never counted on a child born in the humblest of circumstances who would follow right behind the radical John the Baptist with a ministry of love and repentance that embraced all people including the abject sinners, and those who were possessed, ill, diseased, handicapped, blind, deaf, mute - many of whom were totally cured.
Jesus - Christ the King - upset the power structure of the religious rulers of that time and was sacrificed at the Jewish Passover as a perfect offering to atone for all of humanities’ sins - past, present and future.
I cannot explain everything that’s packed into this last statement; many people find it almost impossible to believe. It doesn’t take a lifelong theologian to look at our secular, progressive society and come to the conclusion that we need a lot of salvation from ourselves and our total attachment to things of this physical world.
A few examples? Abortion, euthanasia, pornography, rampant individual and corporate greed, jealousy, trafficking of children and vulnerable adults, racism, bigotry, theft of money and property, and willful destruction of the reputations of others come to mind.
Added to that you can include ignoring the plight of the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the mentally ill; this list goes on and on.
I believe in a final judgment. That final judgment is in the hands of Jesus who is all merciful and all just. He will decide whether his mercy trumps his sense of what is just or if it will be the other way around.
This is why Christians are so dedicated to putting Christ back in Christmas.
I firmly believe in that little God Child and everything he stands for and everything he asks of us.
Merry Christmas and certainly wishes for a better New Year for all!
Well, that’s the way I see it.