It is hard to not get caught up in the buzz, excitement and chaos that has come to be associated with Christmas.
In fact the month before Christmas can be so busy, so full, and at times so overwhelming we can forget that the whole point of Christmas is to celebrate the birth of child long ago.
Now did Jesus birth happen exactly like it is recorded in the Gospel of Luke? Probably not!
In fact if you read the account of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel according to Matthew you will find that it is totally different than the one from Luke.
But just because the writers of the gospels took some poetic license with the facts doesn’t mean that the stories are void and empty of meaning.
The reason we remember and mark his birthday is because of the extraordinary person that he became, the message he proclaimed and the example he set.
We celebrate and remember his birth because of his life and what he means to us.
The stories of Jesus’ birth, as recounted by both Luke and Matthew, are full of meaning because they tell us of the hopes and dreams that those first followers of Jesus found within his life.
These ancient stories about Jesus tell of a vision of God whose desire for all humanity is liberation and freedom from all that seeks to bind us and prevent us from becoming fully human. It is a vision for humanity that would see us at peace with one another and creation.
The stories of Jesus’ birth tell us of a vision that is at odds with the social, economic, political and religious status quo.
It tells of a vision where the poor and the marginalized are lifted up and those who are oppressors are brought low.
It tells of a vision of peace that is brought about through justice and reconciliation rather than imperialism and violence.
It tells of a vision of peace where, no matter our differences, we look at one another and see a common humanity.
My Christmas wish for everyone is that we can overcome the hype and chaos of what is now the season of Christmas and hear with new ears the wonder and mystery of an ancient story of the birth of a child long ago whose message of peace for all people is as timely now as it was when it was first told.
Rev. Armand Houle is the minister at Summerland United Church.