December 24
‘I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.’ John 12:46
Bible reading: Luke 2:1-10 (Go to the Bible passage)
What does it mean to us to celebrate Christmas these days?
Many people only get as far as setting up a Christmas tree, adorning the house with romantic candles and having a copious dinner with stuffed turkey. In fact Jesus recedes completely into the background and often we cannot tell more about Him than that He was wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger, in a cold and damp stable. We can get quite sentimental about this, but when the holidays are over, we have to admit that it not really affected us. What then is the actual meaning of Christmas?
Jesus, the Son of God, left the heavenly glory He had with His Father. For a little while He was made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9). Not during the day, but in the middle of the night Jesus was born, as a sign that He overcomes the night, the darkness in our souls. He was born in deplorable conditions, as a sign that He wants to enter our lives where it is dirty and sinful. Therefore the plain - and often despised - shepherds could freely behold the heavenly glory, of which Jesus had descended. For a moment they were allowed to experience that suffering changes into joy and praise, and that the true worship goes up to God especially in the night.
And in the same way, today we may truly worship Jesus Who was born as a child, Who gave Himself to be humiliated by becoming flesh and blood in order to save us from the darkness of this world. But this joy only truly arises if we realize that Christmas is inseparably linked to Good Friday and Easter. For then Pentecost too can come about, whereby the Spirit of God can come to dwell in the hearts of men, in our hearts!
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