While we don’t know the exact date Jesus was born, we celebrate Christmas Day to remember a special moment in time when the King of the Universe became one of us so that our sins could be forgiven.
I love Christmas for many reasons, but most of all because it provides an opportunity to remember what’s truly important. I find it easy to go through life focusing on myself, my needs, and the worries of this world, but it’s always freeing to think beyond myself, to the needs of others, and take comfort that Jesus is seated upon his throne in the Kingdom of Heaven, preparing a home for those who place their faith and trust in him.
As I think about Christmas, the Bible reminds me how special that first Christmas Day was. In preparation, angels appeared separately to both Mary and Joseph, announcing God’s plan of salvation. The angel Gabriel said to Mary, “You are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
When that first Christmas Day arrived, it was celebrated by men, angels, and a great heavenly host.
Shepherds attending their flocks were greeted by an angel of the Lord, who brought them good news of great joy for all the people. The angel announced, “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” With that, a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
The shepherds quickly left and searched for the Savior the angel had spoken of, and they found the baby lying in the manger, just as they were told. After spreading the word of everything that happened, the shepherds returned to the child and gave glory and praise to God.
Then a star commemorating the event appeared, and Magi from the east, recognizing the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Christ, born King of the Jews, followed the Christmas star to where it stopped over the place where the child and his parents were. When they saw Jesus, they worshiped him and presented him with gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.
But we shouldn’t forget that there was also great danger surrounding these events, as King Herod, who was troubled by the news, sought to kill the child. We can give thanks that an angel of the Lord warned Joseph in a dream, and he and his family fled to Egypt until the threat ended.
Now when we celebrate Christmas Day, it’s a perfect opportunity to remember the events leading up to this moment in history and what has happened since, and we, too, may give glory and praise to God in worship. So while December 25 may not be the actual day Jesus was born- and there are questions as to the year he was born, we can still celebrate the good news! And not just on this day in 2020, but every day- all year long.