It’s true, we don't know the actual birthday of Jesus.
One of the reasons that Dec. 25th was chosen was that it gave the faithful Christians of the Roman Empire an alternative to celebrating the extravagant pagan Feast of Saturnalia, the major yearly celebration of Rome focused on the god Saturn. It was linked to the Winter Solstice as days became longer and people looked forward to Spring.
With the advent of Jesus Christ, a new, more personal meaning was offered in the midst of the dark midwinter of the northern hemisphere.
Simply said, Christmas proclaimed that God was with us in real and tangible ways even in the darkest days of the year, even in
the darkest days of our lives.
No longer are we mere observers of gods controlling creation. Instead, we can participate with God, co-creators who are drawn close and given the Holy Spirit that can stay with us always.
The hallmark of this new, loving on-going presence of God was forgiveness and reconciliation.
Our God doesn't wait for us on some lofty mountain or at the end of a journey filled with trials and tests. God comes to us even in our darkest moments, our human failings, our missteps and our stumblings.
For us, God is willing to take on human form, to live with us, to be "incarnated." (meaning – "in the flesh.") God is willing to be like us, to face everything we face, in order to show us just how much we are loved, how much we are forgiven.
Christmas calls us to not give in to our mistakes and our failures, but instead to use the power of God, the power of new birth and resurrection to overcome them.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, with its "peace beyond understanding," let's celebrate a loving Christ given to us, and let's give that same gift of patience, forgiveness and reconciliation to one another.
How have you lived closer to God this day? …this week?
How goes it with your soul?