Keeping Christ in Christmas
By Rev. Brigit F. Monson, St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, Plato
I drove by a church recently with a big banner outside: “Keep Christ in Christmas.”
It seemed obvious to me, but my mind and my heart wondered what exactly that banner was trying to say to me. What does it mean to truly keep Christ in Christmas?
Jesus teaches us from the beginning of his growth in Mary’s womb how to keep Christ in Christmas.
We celebrate his birth because we know the rest of his story. We know how he will soon turn water into wine, calm the winds with his words, and heal the sick and infirm.
We celebrate his coming to earth because we know what an impact he will have as he grows. And yet, it is in his very birth that his most profound teaching comes.
The Christ child began his journey with us as a tiny and helpless little boy, named Jesus. He could have been named George or Alex, but the angel said to name him Jesus.
The Christ child came to save the world, to bring justice to the oppressed, to heal the sick, and to comfort the broken-hearted, but he began his work with an infant wail for comfort and food for himself. That is the miracle of Christ.
In his own neediness as a fragile baby, Christ teaches Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and wise men, and all of us who gather at the manger each year, how to keep Christ in Christmas.
Our very first lesson arrives in the care of an infant. Through the gentle, attentive, unending care for every need of that helpless child, we learn how to care for all of God’s creation.
Jesus teaches us how to be the Christ in Christmas. This Christmas, let us follow that example and let us not just keep Christ in Christmas, but let us be the Christ in Christmas.
Let us give extra hugs to children, smile and laugh heartily out loud, provide food and shelter for those in need, offer tears of sadness and prayers for the ill.
Let us see each neighbor, friend, family member, and stranger as the helpless and needy infant named Jesus, calling out for our care and love.
Then, we will see the Christ in Christmas.