The Hope Found In A Birthday That Has Never Been Forgotten
In the wake of the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School where children died for no good reason and after another year of violence against children all over the world, it sometimes seems like a pointless exercise to celebrate Christmas. But I don’t believe it is.
We celebrate Christmas because 2000 years ago another child was born; a child who would be killed many years later for no good purpose either. For all of our technology and sophistication, we haven’t seemed to learn much in those two millennia but his message endures and as long as the message can be heard, there is hope.
I wrote this a year ago and it remains the reason why I celebrate Christmas.
A Nativity Never Forgotten
There is one thing about Christmas that never ceases to amaze me; a simple fact that is both remarkable and unique.
Almost half the world’s population celebrates Christmas and while at least a third of them celebrate it from a secular perspective, for more than 2 billion people, Christmas marks the birth of a baby some 2000 years ago in a stable in a backwater village that was a remote part of the Roman Empire.
After his birth, his parents fled Judea and took him to Egypt where he lived and little was heard of him or known about his life until he turned 30. Three years later he was crucified and yet in that 3 year span, travelling around with a small rag tag band of followers, this baby now an adult, changed the course of human history.
He didn’t do it through conquest or political gamesmanship. He didn’t invent any new technologies or new ways of producing things nor did he write, paint or sculpt. He didn’t sing or dance; act or play professional sports. He wasn’t a general or a politician; a banker or a protester.
He talked. He didn’t accuse or blame; pontificate, protest or swagger. He merely talked to anyone who was interested in his message.
Some claimed he also performed a handful of miracles and he may or may not have but it is clear that he talked. He talked to anyone who would gather around him regardless of race, nationality, religious faith, occupation, income level or any of the other things we use to divide ourselves. It was simply people who were important to him and in that way, he became his own, small social networking network.
What’s even more remarkable is that he really only talked about two things; loving God and loving each other. It wasn’t a very complex or sophisticated message although sometimes his parables and speeches could be quite inspiring.
It seems almost unbelievable that a government or another religion could feel threatened by someone talking about loving God and loving your neighbour and for the most part, the Romans really weren’t. But just as today, others were threatened by it and eventually they succeeded in having the Romans execute this man whose birth so many celebrate now.
Whether you believe in God or not; whether you believe that Christ is the son of God or not at the end of the day, it is still amazing that so many have and continue to celebrate his birth 2000 years after his death.
I think it is because that child delivered a message of hope, of love and of peace. As it was when he was born and some thirty odd years later when he died, there remain too many today who are still threatened by that message and they speak out against the celebration and the religion that has grown out of this child’s birth. How many of them will be remembered after they die? How many of those criticisms have had the impact of this baby’s later message?
Other great men and women have come and gone and we remember many and honour a few but none have had the impact on so many as this child who’s birth so many celebrate now.
Perhaps it is because whether you are a Christian or someone of another faith; whether you are an agnostic or an atheist, there are few things worth celebrating more than the hope for more love and peace in this world.
It is in that spirit, the spirit of a child’s gift to humanity that I celebrate Christmas. It remains my continuing hope that not only will his message never be forgotten but that someday, regardless of our individual faith or lack of it, we will all learn how to live that message and finally find peace through mutual respect and consideration of each other.
Regardless of what each of us chooses to believe or not to believe, surely there are worse things to celebrate or hope for in this all too short life we all live and share.
We have given that hope a name. We call it Christmas and it was given to us in a nativity the world has never forgotten.
Merry Christmas. from Maggie’s Bear
© 2012 Maggie’s Bear
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