I’ve decided that Christmas is as two-toned as the colors we most associate with the holiday. One is primary, the other secondary, both attractive but completely divergent. So with Christmas, we have a primary purpose for the holiday—the celebration of Christ come down—and a secondary—the gift-giving family time with all the traditions. Both are attractive, but unless a person intentionally connects the two, quite divergent.
I was reminded of this when one of the local Christian radio stations claimed to be playing Christmas music with a difference, then proceeded to air “Frosty, the Snowman.” Yes different, I thought. Different that you thought there was anything different about that secular song over some other secular song.
Once again, C. S. Lewis in Miracles (MacMillian) made some profound observations that apply to the primary purpose of Christmas:
The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares for this, or exhibits this, or results from this. Just as every natural event is the manifestation at a particular place and moment of Nature’s total character, so every particular Christian miracle manifests at a particular place and moment the character and significance of the Incarnation. (chapter 14, p. 112)
In the Christian story God descends to re-ascend. He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity … down to the very roots and sea-bed of Nature. … One may think of a diver, first reducing himself to nakedness, then glancing in mid-air, then gone with a splash, vanished, rushing down through green and warm water into black and cold water, down through increasing pressure into the deathlike region of ooze and slime and old decay; then up again, suddenly he breaks surface again, holding in his hand the dripping, precious thing that he went down to recover. He and it are both coloured now that they have come up into the light: down below, where it lay colourless in the dark, he lost his colour too. (chapter 14, p. 116)
I’ll be off tomorrow, as I suspect you will be also. May you have a joyous Christmas Day, including some recognition and celebration of Immanuel, God with us, God come down to bring us up with Him.