Merry Christmas everyone. It’s a cold but beautiful day in Fairfax City. We’re going to my sister’s house in a few minutes, so this is short. Today is a special day in our household, as it is in many people’s, as we celebrate with our family the birth of the baby Jesus.
I won’t belabor the details of the Christmas story which are well known. Suffice to say that it encompasses so many current issues: teenage pregnancy, the need for a good census, the failure of the lodging industry to have affordable rooms.
One fascinating thing about the story as told in the Gospel of Luke is how it reduces gigantic historic figures to mere footnotes. Caeasar Augustus was the most powerful Roman emperor of his time. Herod Antipas was the Governor of Judea, a key Roman colony.
Does anyone know who they are today? Does anyone care?
Instead, a little baby is born in a makeshift barn in Bethlehem to an itinerant couple. His birth triggers events that will topple the Roman empire and form the philosophical basis for western civilization. And that’s just for starters.
Indeed, the message will eventually spread across the globe, so that two millenia later a boy raised in suburban northern Virginia and a girl born in rural southern Korea will both grow up believing that this baby is the Son of God.
The message that I love about Christmas is its simplicity. We live in a free nation with many faiths. Some will celebrate the birth of Christ. Some will celebrate a day off. Either way, the Christmas story remains timeless. It is the triumph of a child over worldly authority.