Christmas is the liturgical season in which Christians celebrate every year the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. The birth of the son of a humble carpenter (Mt 13,55) who divided human history into two parts: years and centuries before and after Christ.
The account of his birth in the Gospel of Luke, as with all human accounts, and therefore as in all biblical accounts, is interwoven with historical details and confessions of faith.
Concerning the historical information, Luke underscores his concern to provide a temporal and spatial framework that is as precise as possible for the birth of the “Savior”. Thus Luke tells us that:
· “In those days a decree went out from Ceasar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment when Quirinius was governor of
2,1-2, CEV). Syria.
Further historical data of the simple yet outstanding Lukan account of the birth and infancy of Jesus are his references to:
· “The city of Nazareth, in Galilee” (Lk 2,4).
· “His wife Mary, who was pregnant” (Lk 2,5).
· “There were shepherds in the region…” (Lk 2,8).
But all the strength and intentionality of the account, according to Luke, are placed on the confessions of faith of the primitive Christian community —“in light of the Passover”— concerning the child, now raised from the dead, the infant who is now proclaimed as their Lord.
In Luke’s account, the following confessions of faith are high-lighted:
· “Of the house and family of David” (Lk 2,4)
· “The city of David, known as Bethlehem, in Judea” (Lk 2,4)
· “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them: ‘Do not be afraid, for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today, in the city of David, a savior has been born to you who is Messiah and Lord’ ” (Lk 2, 9-11)
· “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Lk 2.14)
After twenty centuries, even though the social, historical and cultural circumstances have changed, we can affirm that our creed is a historical faith and religion, founded on facts that occurred in a proven and irrefutable way in the time and space of human history (D.V. 2).
Yet we can especially say that after twenty centuries, in the liturgical season of Christmas, as Christians we unite in the very same confessions of faith proclaimed by the early Christians in their communities. And today, as we do every day and always at Christmas, we also confess that the child “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” was born to us as the Savior, the Messiah, the Lord, “the way, the truth and the life” (Jn 14,6), the one who fills the sense of history of our personal, family and social life.
Thus Christmas is a liturgical season with historical foundations, yet it is especially a season of joyful celebration for the good news of great joy that the birth of the Son of God meant for the early Christians who proclaimed it as such in the beautiful Lukan account, and for us who also acknowledge this fact in the current moment of our own history.
This good news, this great joy amply justifies all the celebration of Christmas. Therefore we desire for you: Merry Christmas!