Unwrapping the true meaning of Christmas

Image by Mike Van Hoecke
Image by Mike Van Hoecke

Unwrapping the true meaning of Christmas

by Mike Van Hoecke
Yokota base chapel volunteer

Christmas is rich with traditions. It’s the time of year when we want to feast with friends, share some eggnog, enjoy a little time off with family, and celebrate a “season of gift giving.” As fun as these traditions may be, they can become wrapping that obscures the very essence of Christmas. Christians maintain that Christmas is really about receiving.

No, not presents from a relative or an imagined Santa based on our being good the past year, but a gift based on our imperfect nature as sinners who make mistakes and who are in need of redemption. Christmas is about Jesus Christ entering our world in the form of a human to restore a relationship with us: The Son of God wanting to meet us where we are – right in the middle of our imperfect human circumstances.

Some may consider Jesus an important teacher or just a moral man, but that is not how the Holy Bible describes him, nor how His many miracles speak to His divine nature.

St. Peter said, “'You (Jesus) are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” St. Thomas (that’s right the doubting skeptic after he witnessed the resurrected Christ and put his fingers into Christ’s wounds) “My Lord and my God.”

Just like Martha of the New Testament, we may be busy right now worrying about obligations that we think to be right. The better choice might be to sit down, relax from our toil, and learn as Martha’s sister Mary chose to do. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your souls. Jesus says in Mathew 11:29 of the New Testament.

Maybe during this season’s festivities, we could take a moment to quietly reflect on the relationship that God desires to have with us. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus says this in John 3:16. That is a wonderful gift for those who will receive it.

Have a merry and meaningful Christmas and may you find rest for your soul.

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