The Christmas season is upon us. Yes, this year will be different as we are in the midst of a pandemic. If there has ever been a year, it is this year that we need some joy. We need Christmas trees, lights, decorations, Christmas cards, nativities, Christmas villages, poinsettias, and some mistletoe.
Have you noticed that radio stations were playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, Christmas movies started running in mid-November, and people decorated for the holidays much earlier than usually this season? It is because in 2020 – we need a little joy in our life.
But let us not forget the real meaning of Christmas. The events that took place over 2000 years ago in a faraway town called Bethlehem are why we celebrate Christmas. On that one starry night is when LOVE WAS BORN. But the story begins in the small town of Nazareth. “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27).
The angel had told Mary she was going to miraculously bear a Son. In one way, this was unbelievable news to Mary. She was a virgin engaged to be married. Becoming pregnant would shame her before her parents, her husband-to-be and her entire village. Perhaps that explains why Mary hurried off to live with her cousin Elizabeth for the first few months of her pregnancy.
Now Joseph was a righteous man, so he had decided to divorce Mary privately rather than exposing her to public disgrace. Breaking an engagement in those days required a divorce. But the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph and explained that the child Mary was carrying was the creation of the Holy Spirit. He told Joseph not to be afraid and to name the child, Jesus, for He would save His people from their sins.
Joseph decided to go through with the marriage, but before the wedding ceremony, he was sent out of town to register in his ancestral hometown of Bethlehem, many days’ journey to the south. Even though she was in the advanced stages of her pregnancy, Mary traveled with Joseph. After they reached Bethlehem, Mary “…gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn”
(Luke 2:7). And LOVE WAS BORN!
Yes, the way we celebrate Christmas this year will be different. Your traditions may change; you may not be able to put up a Christmas tree or listen to Christmas con-certs, you may not be able to go to church for a candlelight service with family or be served communion, you may not be able to sit with others around the dinner table or see your family. That’s okay, because Christ-mas is about Christ. Christmas is about when LOVE WAS BORN! Merry Christmas!