By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
Imagine that Jesus had never been born, or that King Herod had succeeded in his heinous plot. The thought makes me shudder.
If Jesus had never been born, there would be no absolutes, no restraints, no hope … and where there is no hope, there is only desolation.
A world of disrespect for life or no regard for human welfare would be horrific.
How grateful we should be that God reached down to mankind. He sent his only son to be born in a lowly stable. This “Babe of Bethlehem” brought joy to the world and changed the course of human history. He would live 33 short years only to be nailed to a cross to pay the penalty for our sins.
Jesus had no earthly possessions, but he brought love, healing, peace and hope. For that he was ridiculed, mocked, persecuted, scourged, beaten and killed.
Two thousand years have come and gone but he is still with us. He lives in our hearts, lifts up the downtrodden, and gives hope to the hopeless. He heals the broken-hearted. He removes the pain of yesterday and brings joy for tomorrow.
No other single event in all of history has affected our world as much as the birth of this baby called Jesus.
Why do we celebrate Christmas? It’s because Emmanuel (meaning God-with-us) came to dwell among us. Because of him, we have hope.
We are joyful and because of Jesus, we will live forever. That is more than an abundant reason to celebrate.
If Jesus is taken out of Christmas, forget it all. Do you think I’m going to celebrate because of a winter holiday? Give me a break. Do you think I will have a family gathering and exchange gifts to say, “Happy Holidays?” No way. I will say, “Merry Christmas” and love it.
Maybe we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth, but at least we honor him and praise him for coming to earth and that makes me happy. I love everything about Christmas. Jesus gave the world the priceless gift of himself. I, too, give gifts of love and friendship. I will exchange gifts with loved ones, not for a winter holiday, but because I’ve been given the gift of life and salvation. I love to sing Christmas carols. Can you imagine singing songs about a barren winter and celebrating cold weather or a winter solstice? Yet there are those who have lobbied to remove Nativity scenes from public places. Does it make any sense to remove the reason for which we celebrate?
How can we not celebrate? I, for one, will celebrate the greatest event of all time and I will love every minute of it.
Let’s go forth with joy. Let’s go forth with singing. It’s a time for great rejoicing.
Joan Clayton is a retired teacher, writer and religion columnist living in Portales. E-mail her at: