Each Christmas, we find it challenging to say something about Christmas that hasn’t been said many times, many ways before.
Beyond the tinsel and turkey, the presents and parties, we hope Christmas still profoundly touches you with its message of peace on earth, goodwill towards men.
The story of the birth of Jesus, his life, his teachings, his crucifixion and resurrection is greater than any drama conceived by Shakespeare or the Greek tragedians. It’s a tale of love, sacrifice and redemption on the grandest possible scale.
For believers, Jesus is the Son of God. For others, he is a teacher in a line of great and inspiring religious leaders. Others question his divinity, but acknowledge he was an ideal human being. And the cynics will remind us that Dec. 25 was a pagan holiday that has nothing to do with Christ’s birth.
For all the transforming power of his message, Jesus Christ was the son of a poor carpenter, not a royal personage. He was born in a stable, not a palace. And in a world that was cruel, violent and unjust, he spoke of turning the other cheek and loving one’s enemies.
Biblical scholar Thomas Cahill writes that Jesus was preaching to two audiences – the powerless, who “need to be reminded that God loves them and the powerful, who need to be goaded by the example of those who have abandoned their comfort for the sake of others. The purpose of the Gospel of Matthew is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”
Cruelty, violence and injustice exist today. Yet Christ’s message still resonates. It is not about power or the powerful. Instead, he tells us to speak up for the oppressed, to defend those who cannot defend themselves, to be sympathetic and forgiving and to make peace wherever we can.
After 2,000 years, his message brings comfort, mercy and hope.
Perhaps that’s the real Christmas miracle.