Christmas began with a child

Listen 2:51


Christmas began at a time when mankind was searching for answers. Christmas began with a child.

A child born into poverty, in a system controlled by the wealthy, in a barn occupied by the filthy, on a night predicted by the wise.

Today such a child might be cast into an underfunded school system or snatched by the social services system. He might end up in an overcrowded prison system, because that’s what happens to poor children.

But the birth of Jesus was different. It was designed to turn conventional wisdom on its ear. To show us that one life — even against seemingly long odds — can rise up and change the world.

Christmas reminds us that every child is precious. That every child has potential. That every child can be something more than what we see. That’s why we give gifts to children at Christmas. Not because they deserve the gifts, but because they are the gifts.

My faith tells me that God the Father gave God the Son as the ultimate gift to mankind. A gift that would span generations, teaching us through his own life, death and resurrection, that love is an action and not a platitude. That love is self-sacrificing, not self-seeking. That love always gives before it takes.

That’s why Christmas began with a child.

In our children, we see ourselves. We see the hope for better lives and the dreams of brighter futures. We see the fear of failures past and the desire for to make them right.

That’s why Christmas began with a child.

There are those who will tell us that Christmas is about following the example of the wise men who traveled incredible distances to find a child and give him gifts. There are others who will snidely tell us that Christmas is about the commercialism that too often ensnares us in anxiety.

But Christmas, like the child it celebrates, is all about new beginnings. It’s about the same thing it was about 2,000 years ago. It’s about remaking a world where the poor and defenseless are oppressed by the rich and powerful, where women are devalued by men in authority, where those who are different are cast aside as if they have no purpose.

Christmas is the birth of hope in a world where hope is priceless. Christmas is the birth of justice in a world where corruption is rampant. Christmas is the birth of giving in a world that is rife with taking. Christmas is the birth of joy at the notion that one life can change the world.

This year, as we celebrate the holiday by exchanging gifts, let’s remember that Christmas began with hope, Christmas began with faith, Christmas began with love.

But more than anything else, Christmas began with the one thing that encompasses them all.

Christmas began with a child.

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal