The true meaning of Christmas
December 18, 2013
The day after Thanksgiving, a beautiful Christmas tree appeared in the lobby of the assisted living residence where I live. A 10-foot tall tree with an angel on top, decorated with dozens of shiny ornaments and Christmas lights.
A neighbor asked me what was its true meaning. After reflection, I told him the Christmas tree symbolizes the Nativity of the promised messiah (savior), Jesus (the) Christ (Christ is not his surname: It translates from Hebrew as the "anointed one."
Reliable documents say that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, more than 2,000 years ago. His life and deeds, especially his passion, was prophesied in incredible detail centuries before his birth by those living at different times and places — and all those prophesies came true in him and in him alone. They also foresaw that his mother would conceive him in her virginity; that he would be born in Bethlehem.
In due time, an angel appeared to some surprised shepherds and told them where they will find the "savior who is Christ the Lord." And a multitude of angels appeared singing: "Glory to God in the highest and on Earth peace among the men of good will." Others came, including three kings from the Orient, to adore the newborn king.
Inevitably a speculation came about the motive of his coming: sacred.
Scripture tells us that "…God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life" for our salvation.
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Only Jesus performed miracles to prove his claim that he was the son of God — a divine person, one in nature with the father. There are at least 34 miracles listed in the gospels that prove his divine power. Answering a question from John the Baptist, Jesus said: "Go and report to John what you have heard and seen: The blind see; the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed; the deaf hear; the dead rise; the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Luke 7:22). "The works I do give testimony of me that the father has sent me" (John 11:36).
No other founder of world religions has performed miracles showing that he is the lord of the nature such as calming of the storm; changing of water into wine at Cana; the exorcising of demons from those who were possessed; the unexpectedly large catch of fish; the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed thousands; the walking upon water, etc. The historical data provide us with overwhelming evidence of Christ's unparalleled logic, the remarkable beauty of his parables, his unswerving consistency of his argumentation, his sense of fidelity to the law of God and his remarkable knowledge of sacred scripture.
During further discussions about God's love for us, we resolved that we must reciprocate — not only as individuals but also our government officials — by observing God's commandments that are guaranteed to lead us to a life of peace and prosperity.
Peter Pohorsky lives in Grass Valley.