Pictured beside this text is a photo of my own Advent wreath today, all five candles lit. Today is Christmas Day. For hundreds upon hundreds of years, the Church has celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ this day. Was he born on December 25, 1 A.D.? By no means. Jesus was probably born sometime in the spring or summer (as is seen from clues such as the shepherds in the fields) and anytime between 2 and 6 B.C. (some would indeed say no later than 4 B.C., but there is some good evidence that Herod may have died in 1 B.C. instead of 4 B.C. as has been traditionally thought and astronomical clues from that period regarding the star of the Magi would place Jesus’ birth around 2 B.C.).
My point wading through all of that stuff about the date of Jesus’ birth: that was never the point. Christmas was never supposed to be Jesus’ actual birthday, but a celebration of Jesus’ birth. It comes at the end of the Advent season (the four Sundays leading up to Christmas), which remembers the anticipation and joy of Jesus’ first coming and, likewise, the anticipation and joy we have for his second coming. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come… and will come again. Some Scripture for us this day (taken from the ESV):
- And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)
- And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
- He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)