Full of family, trees, decorations, food, presents and, hopefully, some snow, Christmas is a wonderful distraction from the dreary cold of winter. We huddle together under blankets before the fireplace and sing songs of the first Christmas and old men driving around in sleds. And even though we know that Christmas is more than this, we sometimes forget how the course of history and reality was changed all those years ago.
The name of our holiday, “Christmas”, comes from the words “Christ’s Mass” – which refers to a time of worshiping Jesus and reflecting on the amazing, mind-boggling act of love that God Himself would come down from heaven and become a man like us:
“Since man could not come to God, God has come to man, identifying himself with man in the most direct way. The eternal Logos and Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, has become true man, one of us; he has healed and restored our manhood by taking the whole of it into himself. In the words of the Creed: “I believe…in one Lord Jesus Christ…true God from true God, one in essence with the Father…who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnated from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary.” -Bishop Kallistos Ware, “The Orthodox Way”
The author of the book of Hebrews puts it this way:
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Christmas and Easter are undeniably and forever connected. May we slow down this holiday season and ponder the implications of this union – for it changed reality and impacted every molecule in the universe.