When I was in my twenties, I joined a Bible study group that eventually evolved into a cult-like group. I withdrew from society—emotionally, socially, and spiritually. During those years with this group, which did not condone celebrating any birthdays, including Christ’s, Christmas Day passed unheralded and unsung.
For seven years, December 25 was just another day on the calendar for me.
In the decades since I have learned something that has changed my outlook on Christmas. The birth of Jesus Christ was anything but ‘just another day’ for the world. Apart from birthing Christianity, Christ’s teachings have been responsible for innumerable positive contributions to civilization.
Where you see Christianity flourishing, you see the poor cared for, the sick visited, prison conditions improved. Hospitals, universities, scientific discoveries were inspired by followers of Christ. Places in the world where life is worth nothing, where women live in abject subservience, and where basic human freedoms are absent, you will find Christianity has been stifled or obliterated. Here, the people live as if in the Old Testament, where the Law is a harsh schoolmaster, demanding and exacting punishment for every infraction—a dark and hopeless place.
Christ’s arrival provided a way out of that dark and hopeless place. To His disciples, He was the Light of the world, bringing grace, forgiveness, and love instead of wrath and penalty. Not everyone saw Him that way. The religious elites saw Him as a threat to their control over the religious affairs of men. Their hatred put him on the cross after only three years of public ministry.
But those few years had yielded much fruit. His followers went all over the known world healing the sick, preaching the Gospel, and spreading love. Light had taken hold; it would not be extinguished.
And never will be.
That first Christmas so long ago when the angels rejoiced, the shepherds watched, and Mary brought forth her special Son, was the day that God Himself imparted to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.
In the history of mankind, such a momentous event has never been. It literally changed the world.
This December 25, I will celebrate Christmas with all my heart. My wish is that we may all know the blessings of heaven not only on this one day, but all year through.