A Christmas Homily
Virtually every period in human history is marked by a significant event,
one that people remember and use to mark a turning point in the lives
of men. Let us consider a few of them.
The Fall of Adam in the Garden – This plunged mankind into sin,
misery and alienation from God.
The Battle of Thermopylae, in 480 BC – The Spartan King,
Leonidas I, with his army of 7,000 men, held off the 150,000-man-
strong Persian invasion for three days in a mountain pass, thus
helping prevent Greece from becoming part of the Persian
The Conquests of Alexander, ending in 323 BC – by conquering
most of the known world as far east as the Indus River, Alexander
shifted the center from Orient to Occident and paved the way for
Greek to become the lingua franca of the world. Later, this would
greatly facilitate the spread of the Gospel.
The Murder of Julius Caesar, in 44 BC – this led to a civil war that
effectively brought the Roman Republic to an end. The Empire
followed, during which period the Lord Jesus was born.
The Conversion of Constantine, after the Battle of Milvian Bridge
in AD 312. This led to the general Christianization of the Roman
Empire and further facilitated the spread of the Gospel
The Murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo
on June 28, 1914. A breakdown in the peace efforts followed this
event, and the Great War became inevitable. For three years
thereafter, virtually all of Europe was engulfed in a cataclysmic
The Abdication of Edward VIII, on December 10, 1936, resulting
from his decision to marry the twice-divorced American, Wallis
Simpson. His abdication opened the door to the coronation of
George VI, who turned out to be the perfect King to lead the
people of England through the turbulent and very difficult years of
World War II.
The Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. This massive
amphibious landing – the largest in history – allowed the Allies to
establish a foothold in Fortress Europe. This led directly to the
defeat of the European Axis Powers, bringing to an end the
second cataclysmic war in Europe during the 20th Century.
All these events were world-changing and all of them are important to
know about and remember. Moreover, we could list many other
similarly significant occasions that affected the lives of many people
around the world.
But today, we celebrate an event that is far more important, far more
world-changing and even far more stirring and exciting than all of the
aforementioned occurrences. Today, we celebrate the incarnation of
the Son of God. The birth of Jesus Christ is the greatest event ever to
occur on Planet Earth.
Think about it:
Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, andMatthew 1:23, citing Isaiah 7:14
they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is,
God with us.
The name Emmanuel: “God with us.” This constitutes a significant shift
in God’s dealing with mankind. Under the Older Covenant, God was
manifestly “with us” only through His presence in the Inner Sanctum of
the Temple (and in the portable Tabernacle prior to that).
Access to God’s presence was limited. He could only be approached
through Jerusalem and its sacrificial system. He was only accessible to
the circumcision; regardless of ethnic or national origin, one had to
adopt the yoke of circumcision to come to God. In short, one had to
become a Jew.
But with the Incarnation, that changed. Now God’s glory, previously
restricted to one building in one city in one country, would be
manifested throughout the world in a man who is also Divine. We see
this in John’s statement:
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and weJohn 1:14
beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.
And in verse 18:
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which
is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Not only did God reveal himself in a new and more universal way
through the birth of Jesus, but the incarnation inaugurated the process
by which atonement could be made, permanently, for the sins of God’s
Consider the angel’s words to Joseph:
Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to embrace Mary as yourMatthew 1:21-22
wife, for the One conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will
give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name
Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.
That fact, that truth, ties us back in to the first item on the list with
which I started this homily: the tragic event in the Garden of Eden.
Jesus came to save us from our sins. Glory be to God in the Highest.
So, of all the memorable events in history, whether of a positive or
negative nature in themselves, none can compete in their effect or
their importance with this one amazing fact: The Son of God has
become man. Our Christmas celebration commemorates what is
without doubt the greatest event ever to occur on planet earth. No
Christian should ever apologize for celebrating Christmas. Christmas is
truly a day to shout JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME.
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