If we want to find out how much a certain thing means to us, we have only to ask ourselves this question: “What would it be like without it?” All our lives we have been accustomed to celebrating Christmas. Some of our earliest remembrances are of that day. Have you ever thought what it would be like if there were no Christmas?
Well, there would be no Christmas dinners, no Christmas trees, no giving and receiving of presents, no parties etc. But these things although they are the expression of a joyous festival, are not all that Christmas means, for Christmas is the festival of the birthday of Jesus Christ. We would not be keeping Christmas if there had been no Christ. We could do very well without many of the customs which have attached themselves to the festival of Christmas, but what the world would be like if Christ had not come, we hardly dare to imagine.
The birth of Christ was the greatest event in human history. We cannot possibly imagine fully what a difference the coming of Jesus Christ to live on earth as one of us has made to us and to all humankind throughout the ages. When we think of some of the changes which Christ’s coming has made, we can realize what an occasion for joy and thanksgiving the celebration of His birthday should be.
For one thing, the coming of Jesus on earth has changed the world significantly. In Jesus’ time there were no hospitals. Today institutions for the care of the sick, the infirm and friendless are found in many parts of the world, but nowhere so many and so good as in Christian countries. They are the product of the Christian Faith and of the Church’s work. Our attitude towards life has been completely changed as a result of our Lord’s and teaching. Women have been raised to their proper place to be seen as help mates and companions to men. Children too, have special attention given to them, and adequate provision is made for their physical well-being, their education and their religious development. Most children the world over, are fortified against various diseases by inoculation.. Life is viewed as a sacred thing (not to be taken away arbitrarily) and Jesus has made this so. His teachings need to be practiced universally in order to prevent physical and moral evils.
These are a few of the social aspects of what Christmas means to us. They are the manifestations of Jesus’ teaching about our relationship to God and to our fellow men and women. He taught that God is the father of everyone, and therefore all people are brothers and sisters and of equal worth in the sight of God.
As we think again at this time of the story of the most wonderful thing which ever happened to the world, the words of the angel to the shepherds must ring in our ears: “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” This good news is seen in the changed life in the world to this day. Whenever persons, in a spirit of loyal adventure, have given themselves to Christ, their anointed King, then life has been changed. May we share in this transformation during this Christmas Season.