It is so easy to become distracted these days.  I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to pick up my cell phone as I head off to work, or as I leave the office, or as I get out of the car due to some distraction.  I also forget to take my medicine, read my devotional, or return an email becuase that cell phone range or notified me of an incoming message.  That outgoing message or call I needed to make just went into file 13 due to distraction.
Well, with all the news and voices and advertisements, it is easy to get caught up in the urgent or even unimportant.  The “central things” just seem to move to the next item on the list.  This way of coping through life would be understandable; maybe even acceptable, if all of us were this busy all the time.  But, if we are honest, we are not always busy.  Our minds may be busy, but our activity has pauses.
God created important feasts and events on our calendars to help us pause and remember the “central things.”  Although Christmas is not a God-ordained festival, it has become a time for Jesus followers to focus on God’s love for his created humankind.  The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christ followers in Galatia, said that “…when the right time came, God sent his Son,..” (Galatians 4:4).  God was not distracted.  He knew exactly what he was doing.  He was demonstrating his great love.
In fact, Paul wrote to the Romans (in 5:8) that “…God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”  God wasn’t distracted by our current rebellion; he still came and he still died.  There is no death without birth/life.  There is no Easter without a Christmas.  This is a very simple, yet profound message.
Of course, many get caught up in debating the date/time of year Christmas is celebrated.  It has pretty much been proven that Jesus was not born on December 25th.  And, many other religions, some very opposed to Christ, had feasts and rituals that seemed to have been co-opted or mistakenly brought into the modern Christmas celebrations.  All of this sometimes leads to debates that distract from the primary reason for celebrating Christ’s birth–which is that he was born in the first place.
In the midst of political, religious, and cultural confusion and distraction, God the Son took on human form–down to the least amount of cells necessary for life to attach itself to Mary’s womb, grew in utero for approximately 9 months, then experienced the trauma of birth.  He was wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a feed trough moments after his birth.  On the 8th day of his life, he was given the name Jesus.  If we want to be accurate, his name was Joshua.  Jesus is the English translation of the Latin translated from the Greek (if my memory is correct).
Consequently, thirty-three years or so later, Jesus demonstrated his love for us by dying in our place.  He died a terrible death on a cross.  The victory came when God the Father raised God the Son from the dead.  This undistracted truth is why we celebrate Christmas.  For, it is a person–not an event or specific date.  We celebrate Jesus and his love for us.  May we not become distracted from this central message.

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