Christmas: It's about Christ

As a minister I try to tell my congregation at least once each year, at Advent or at Christmas, that if true, the Christmas story is the greatest single fact in the history of the world.

But what is the heart of the Christmas story?

It is that God, in the person of his Son, came to the earth in Jesus Christ. Christmas is the festival of the incarnation: God taking on human flesh.

The meaning of this event centres on two words: "revelation" and "salvation". God revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ.
The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. Much of what we mean by the word "revelation" is summed up in this one person. And salvation: "You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins." "Jesus" means "Saviour."

I believe that we can know God only as God chooses to reveal himself. "Through God alone can God be known."
I also believe that the message of salvation is not at all dated. Today we want to be saved it seems from everything but our sins. While holding no brief for the sin-obsession of the church in the past, and sometimes in the present, the idea that sin can just be set blithely aside is simply a delusion of the modern age.

But is it true? Did God actually come to us in Christ? The heart of the Christian faith is that it actually happened. It's true. It's real. And if it did happen, then this is the greatest single fact in the history of the world: the creator came to his creation and showed us the way back to the far country. He brought us light and liberty, joy and freedom: in other words, salvation.

This and not something else is the meaning of Christmas. Ultimately it rests on faith that these things are so. Of course, that is why it is called "the Christian Faith."

Once in the long ago, in a little town called Bethelehem, God came to the earth. For those of us who believe this happened ,our hearts are filled with wonder and with joy. Christmas is about Christ.

Some no longer believe this because they no longer believe in God. But we do.

Others do not believe because they do not accept every detail of the Christmas story. But millions of Christians believe without feeling that they need to accept every detail of the story literally. The message of God has been conveyed to us through human beings who wrote the Bible and they wrote within the limitations of their times.

It is another illusion of the modern age that the Christmas story can easily be dismissed. But something for which many have died -- and still do, for we continue to live in an age of martyrdom (surprisingly and astonishingly) -- cannot be set aside so easily. Again this Christmas Christians will go to their churches to bear their witness to this continuing reality: the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.