“He was not of an age, but for all time”, said Ben Jonson regarding Shakespeare, a mere mortal, and I agree. Shakespeare is a phenomenon of inter-generational impact. I dare say that celebration of Christ is not meant to be a seasonal thing but a daily thing. Everyday is Christmas, because while Shakespeare may be for all time, the Creator of Shakespeare is the same yesterday, today and forever
If Christ was merely a religious figure, then celebrating his birth once a year makes sense. If Christ was simply the most outstanding teacher of all time, then having a season in honor of him is good enough. If Christ was merely a man who did more miracles than anyone since creation, then we can remember his birth. If Christ is merely historical, then it suffices to remember when he was born.
But if Christ is God our Creator, the immortal who became mortal in order to redeem us mortals regardless of our race, religion, social status, political affiliation, then we should go beyond remembering his birth. If He is the Prince of Peace who brought peace to the world, then He should be celebrated daily, by those who claim to follow Him and by those who experience personal and social peace through the instruments of peace, His body. If He is truly the way, the truth and the life like He claimed, then we should follow and live Him.
If He is truly the One who has the solution to the daily woes we face, if He is the One from whom we obtain new life, if He is God who died and rose again so we could be given new lives, new selves, new spirits, then we should live and breathe him daily and we do not need a season or a day to do that. Who needs to set aside a time to breathe? If He has nothing to do with religion but the reconciliation of each and every human being to Himself their maker, then He deserves worship 24/7, not only by the angels but more by those He came to redeem with His own life.
Interestingly, Jesus Christ never asked us to remember his birth, He asked us to remember his death, not seasonally but as often as we can, even more often than daily. Firstly, I think it is because the purpose of God becoming human is redemption of humans through the death of God! His death was the reason for his birth. Secondly, Jesus Christ today is referred to in the scriptures as the first born from the dead. His death paved the way for new life for Himself and anyone who chooses to believe in Him, so that those who believe can have new life, new spirits just like Him. Jesus’ birth did not give humanity new life, his death gave humanity new life. His birth introduced him to our world and gave him our life of death but His death introduced us to His world and gave us the option of having His life, which is eternal and dominant over death in all its forms. That needs celebrating daily.
Thirdly, according to the scriptures, the angels are worshiping this Christ with the words, “worthy is the lamb who was slaughtered”, not “worthy is the baby who was born in a manger.” Since this is done in heaven by the angels who stand before God, it must be the will of God. Since Jesus taught that God’s “will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, it follows that we also should be celebrating the sacrifice of Jesus, at least much more than we celebrate his birth. Fourthly, He wants us to focus on His death because He is alive. He wants us to remember that He once died rather than remembering that he was once born or that he once lived. Remembering that He once died suggests that He is presently alive and remembering that He was once born tends to suggest that He is presently dead, like Shakespeare or any other great personality who is dead.
Celebrating the birth of Jesus tends to mask the real thing, that He once died and obtained new life (not new religion but a new superhuman life form, a new way of life) through death, for himself and for us. We intentionally grow in this life, just as a baby grows into adulthood over time and through deliberate actions. Celebrating his birth more than we celebrate his death misses the point of his birth. If He was born and then died and did many good things while He was alive, then we can celebrate His birth as of one of the people who impacted humanity positively, while we are still doomed, with no choice but to live as doomed. If He is alive today and His death redeemed each and everyone of us from doom and death to blessing and new life, then His death, not His birth is what to remember and remembering his death requires living the new dominant and eternal life which His death paved the way for.
Christmas therefore is about new life for humanity which really took place when Jesus Christ died and rose again and the way to celebrate that is to live the life, because everyday is Christmas.
Merry Christmas yesterday, today and forever.