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Let Us Not Forget Why We Celebrate Christmas

December 1, 2007
By The Rev. Fred Bird, Serving Episcopal Congregations in Elkins and Grafton
    Christmas Day will soon be upon us. And we also prepare ourselves for the new year of 2008. The members of Randolph County Ministerial Association hope that everyone has a merry and blessed Christmas, and that 2008 will be a joyful and abundant year.

    Around Christmas time, we frequently see the sign that says, “Jesus Is The Reason For The Season.” When we look at our frenzied, commercialized world around Christmas, it is sometimes difficult to focus on the real reason for the season. However, when we focus on Jesus at Christmas — or any other time — our lives become so much more meaningful and abundant.

    Jesus came into a world 2000 years ago full of confusion, death, loneliness, fear, addictions, hatred, alienation, strife and greed. This world has not changed much in 2000 years. The gospel of Jesus Christ still comes as a light in the darkness. The darkness of the world cannot overcome the light of Jesus Christ.

    Jesus came as a weak, tiny baby. He did not come as a powerful worldly king. God’s only son entered life in the most humble of circumstances. For Mary and Joseph, there was no hospitality. They were homeless. They were not welcomed. They were rejected. The Messiah of Israel was born in poverty. Jesus was laid in a manger, a feeding trough. Ironically, this beloved child became the food for the whole world. He became the most hospitable, the most welcoming and the most accepting being who ever lived.

    One thing is certain, the baby Jesus was loved. As he was laid in the manger, he was wrapped in swaddling clothes. What a wonderful image of love that is. His parents were not about to neglect him in any way.

    The baby Jesus came as a gift from God the Father. He came to share our human nature. He came to live and die as one of us. Jesus became like us, so that we might become more like God. Man will live forever more because of Christmas day.

    My wife, Donetta, and I recently watched a delightful movie titled, “Because of Winn-Dixie.” Winn-Dixie was a dog, a mutt who is found by a lonely little girl in a Winn-Dixie grocery store. The movie follows the little girl and Winn-Dixie around a small southern town as they meet strangers and make new friends. The one common theme that all the characters have in the movie is that all of them are lonely and isolated. Slowly, Winn-Dixie and the girl bring the other people together into a circle of friends. At the end of the movie, they are all gathered together at a party at one of their homes.

    While I was watching this movie, I kept thinking that this is exactly why Jesus came into the world. Jesus came to help fill the lonely void in all of our lives. The Lord knows that we are all alone and isolated at many points in our lives. Jesus came because he desires a loving, merciful relationship with each one of us. He wants us to be in fellowship with one another. At some point in the future, God has a great and wonderful party planned for us in heaven.

    The baby Jesus came that all people might be drawn from the world into the goodness and mercy of God. We have a God who humbled himself so that we can learn the true nature of love. We have a God that offers each of us hospitality and a welcoming heart. We have a God who especially loves the lowest and the weakest. We have a God who is so courageous that he sacrificed his own son for you and me. Jesus showed throughout his life that we matter greatly to God.

    God still comes to us much like the baby Jesus. He tells us we are his beloved children. God’s voice resounds from all directions. God says to us, “You are my beloved.” When God speaks and acts, it is accomplished.

    (Editor’s Note: The opinions of this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Inter-Mountain, the Randolph County Ministerial Association or the author’s church affiliation.)

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