The Gift of Christmas

As many of you know I am a hospice chaplain. In my work I have the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of people with a wide variety of beliefs.

In 2014 I met a man who came to hospice because he was dying of cancer. He told me that he is Catholic and attended Catholic school as a child. When he graduated he participated in an annual ritual: the sisters who taught them predicted their profession. They told him he would be a writer. Alas, he didn't pursue writing but instead found his calling in the military and while he found his life fulfilling he couldn't shake the idea that he disappointed the good sisters by not writing. After he retired he wrote four small books that he self published.

My patient asked me to publish his book on the internet after he died. He asked that I not name him and I'm honoring his wishes.

Over two thousand years ago the sky was illuminated by a brilliant star, whose radiant beams focused on a stable in Bethlehem. Few were aware of its enormous significance. For the child born in that stabel, Jesus Christ, was destined to be the Savior of the world.

The wealthy in the nearby inn were busy celebrating, unaware of the celestial phenomenon outside. Only the poor shepherds in the field were amazed at the brilliance of the star and were drawn to its light. They were excited but also timorous as to what they might find. A heavenly voice allayed their frears announcing. Do not be fearful for unto you today is born a Savior.

When they arrived at the stable their expectations diminished, for what they saw within was but a new born child with mother and father. Unusual, but in it itself not extraorinary. However, a peaceful aura seemed to encompass all who were present. Pondering all they had witnessed, the shepherds concluded, this indeed was no ordinary birth.

Excited and elated by their conclusions, the shepherds raced to the nearby community to herald their Savior's birth.

Direct Quote Luke 2:10: (NIV):

10 But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.

11 Today in the town of David a Savior is born to you; he i sthe Messiah, the Lord.

Although the community was aware of some of the prophesized circumstances associated with the birth of their Savior, they still held misgivings. Why would God, all-powerful and almighty, choose such a humble and insignificant birth for His Son? Indeed, something worthwhile for the rich and pooor to also ponder.

It would be many more yers later that people would fully comprehend the enormity of the events that shepherds witnessed. They now understood that on that day God intervened in the destiny of man. The world was given a Savior, Jesus Christ, whose exemplary life and teachings would show a path back home to eternal life. A light for all generations to follow.

In time, all our worldly gfts will fade away, but God's gift is forever. By comparison, all the wealth and titles on Earth are inconsequential. You can spend millions to extend your earthly life a few years, but what price to you pay for eternity? In the end, whether you are rich or poor is meaningless.

So on Christmas Day, no matter what your circumstances may be, you should find comfort and joy in knowing God's Christmas Gift has not faded away. What God gives, no one can take away; only you can lose it. Therefore, be not foolish, and ever so careful not to gamble away eternight for short-lived pleasure.

Rejoice, that after 200 years His light still shines brightly, not only over Bethlehem, but also over the entire world.


Other Writings:

Quo Vadis II

Glory and Joy of Easter

Until I Come Again