Christmas Message 2021
Over 2000 years ago the first Christmas started out as a season that had some similarities to what we are experiencing these days. It was a season of unusual events; angels appearing in the night sky to shepherds, a pregnancy by the Holy Spirit and a virgin giving birth in a stable, a busy time caused by the Roman government’s request for a census, and a young very expectant couple entering a bustling city and finding no extra rooms for lodging. Today we have COVID with its protocols and restrictions still hanging on after 20 months. We’ve had heat domes, fires, and atmospheric rivers causing flooding. At times, it seems like too much. Yet we are still here supporting each other as we live and work in community together. That’s something to be thankful for as we celebrate this Christmas.
It’s interesting to recall that several details regarding events that took place that first Christmas were foretold by prophets many years earlier. Prophecies describing the virgin birth, a baby born in Bethlehem and noting that the child would be a descendant of Abraham and Jacob all were fulfilled that first Christmas night. But like us, for those living in the moment, they didn’t grasp the full significance of what was taking place. Today, we look at the historical first Christmas with astonishment knowing so many prophecies were fulfilled by Christ. It reminds me of the Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know?” As a young mother with her first child, Mary couldn’t imagine what life would be like as the mother of Jesus.
The songs asks? “Mary, did you know…
… your baby would one day walk on water?
… that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?
… that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand?
… that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
… that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you delivered, will soon deliver you.”
Mary trusted what the angel told her earlier about her child, but I’m sure she had many moments where she watched Jesus and wondered about the things she saw. Today, we may also be wondering about the events of that first Christmas. What do those events of 2000 years ago mean for me? Can that baby boy really make me new? My prayer is that we all reflect on the birth of Christ and come to a deeper understanding of who he is and why he came. We are told he was fully God and also fully man. From our solely human perspective, that is challenging to grasp. We are also told he suffered a torturous death on a cross for our wrongdoing but then rose again and in so doing, gave us the opportunity to believe he did that for us, for our wrongdoings, so we can be in relationship with him, the baby born on that first Christmas, forever. What a wonderful gift!
May you experience the wonder and hope of the Christ of Christmas,
VP Spiritual Care, Baptist Housing