It seems to me that there is more Christ in Christmas this year than in the recent past.
The imagery and messages on the many Christmas cards I have received have a distinctly holy theme, much more so than in previous years.
There are a diminished number of ‘Happy Holidays’ and ‘Season’s Greetings’, replaced instead with messages of peace, joy and goodwill at Christmas.
Personally, I think it is a good thing. Not because I am especially religious, but because the message that Jesus brought to the world is one that can benefit us all. Celebrating his birth, a life that literally changed the world, reminds us of all that is good. His life (and death) stand as a beacon of hope. His message to all is an eternal guide to truth and salvation.
For the non-religious, the message of Christmas shouldn’t be lost. There is nothing about the teachings of Christ that can cause offence. His charity and forgiveness are wonderful examples for us all. His patience and resilience are a source of inspiration. His words and deeds provide guidance on how to achieve a truly meaningful life.
Whether or not you believe that Jesus was actually the Son of God, the fact that we all regularly fail to live up to the standards he displayed provides ample evidence that his was indeed a divine life.
The knowledge that we can be forgiven for our transgressions and in turn are expected to forgive others is a noble call to set aside the mistakes of the past and strive for better things in the future.
Christmas and the message it conveys is strongly linked to family. The nativity setting reminds us that no matter how humble our circumstances, if we are with people we love and who in turn love us, we can ask for no more. Of course, many people won’t share that joy this Christmas.
Take a moment to consider those who don’t have friends or family to share Christmas with. Spare a thought for those who have lost loved ones over the past year and will be facing their first Christmas without them. Say a prayer for the men and women of our defence forces spending Christmas thousands of kilometres away from their families in defence of our freedom.
And as you do, take a moment to consider just how lucky you are.