The major themes of Christmas are watchfulness, promise, preparation, fulﬁlment, and celebration. We are told to wait for the messenger’s coming and give thanks for his righteousness by which we are saved from wrath. Christmas reminds us the importance of watchfulness because the coming of Jesus to this world was prophesied and understanding him and accepting him into our hearts are important.
Second, we receive a promise. The promise is of Emmanuel, God with us. The words of the prophet are fulﬁlled in the birth of a child. What is conceived of the Holy Spirit and carried in Mary's womb is the promise of eternal life to all who believe? Jesus will save God's people from their sins, and God will dwell in their midst. God took the initiative to get personally involved in history. No longer could anyone accuse God of being aloof, apart, remote, or distant. Here was Emmanuel about to be born; Jesus, the child of Mary. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, this Holy One reveals forevermore the depth of God's wisdom
and the wonder of God's salvation. As we commit our lives to Christ and learn of his will, we give thanks for God's manifold gifts, which embrace all of life.
Third, Christmas is a time for preparation. The people are to be ready. John comes, crying in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Mark 1:3). Christmas marks a fresh beginning as we hear anew of the redemption the Messiah brings. When we are alone, we need the comfort God's Spirit brings. When we hurt, we seek the healing touch of the great Physician to ease our pain. When we are confused, we seek once again the reassuring words. We prepare ourselves to receive the one who reveals that righteousness, Jesus the Christ.
The fourth theme of Christmas is fulfilment. John sends his disciples to ﬁnd out if Jesus is the awaited Messiah. Jesus tells them to report what they have seen and heard: The blind see, the deaf hear, lepers are cleansed, the poor hear good news, the dead are raised. When John's disciples leave, Jesus tells the
crowd John's identity; “more than a prophet,” he is the one divinely sent to prepare the way for God's reign. The signs of that reign are already present in the midst of God's people. We are the heirs of that reign, the sons and daughters of righteousness and children of the covenant. By God's grace, we bear the name “Christian” and are members of Christ's household of faith.
The celebration is the ﬁfth theme of Christmas. As shepherds watched their ﬂocks, God's glory shone on them. They heard the angel say, “Be not afraid.” A star would guide them to where a birth had occurred. Full of joy, they would behold an event that promised peace on earth. Today, followers still gather to celebrate what happened: God brought forth Jesus, whose cause was righteousness. The everlasting response has been to rejoice and be glad.
Yes, let us be glad that the Saviour is born for us!
Wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Adv. Robert Bruce,
Hon. Treasurer, Church of South India.