What is Christmas?

About 2000 years ago, God who is love and out of love manifested himself to reveal himself as love. Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem. He altered the path of humanity, gave us dignity, showed us how to love, and through mercy gave us an opportunity to be saved from eternal misery. He gave us purpose and meaning to our lives; every moment of our being on earth is sustained by him. As with any birthday we celebrate the person’s meaning in our life and show gratitude for all that he is. Since Jesus is a gift to us we want to be gifts and give gifts to others, an example set in the 4th century by a bishop by the name of Nicholas who became a saint, who became a legend.
Most of us know the story of Christmas and what it means for us today, but what did the first one mean to Mary and Joseph? For Joseph was it one of happiness and cheer? Was it one with lots of family, friends, and relatives? Was it one of restful leisure?
Consider Joseph:
  • Imagine being married and your spouse mentions that they are with child but not your own; would you still trust your spouse?
  • Joseph by dream does know Mary carried the son of God, but would not his faith be tested?
  • Knowing that he is to be father of the Son of God, would there not be such a worry of being responsible to protect both the mother and son of God?
  • Joseph wouldn’t be in the presence of many friends nor family (who would have believed if he mentioned that Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit?) He kept it secret to protect Mary and he was too busy anyway, providing all accommodations for his pregnant wife and doing all possible to keep safe the son of God amid the dangers of night travel
  • With only a star for guidance, would he not feel like a failure at not being able to find an inn for Mary and Jesus, but only a stable. Out of humility Joseph, to the best of his ability, did his duty.. from a humble stable, joy was born
I’m not suggesting that Christmas not be about enjoying time with happiness, cheer, family, friends, and relatives. Joseph reminds us that Advent can be a time to trust God more, a time to be more faithful, even a time where faith can be tested, a time of responsibility, a time to do our duty before God. For those whose Christmas is a time away from family or away from home (such as orphans and the homeless), remember that one might not have much to offer yet one can use their suffering as a gift.

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