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We are in serious danger of losing Christmas. Oh yes, today it may be the most popular of all our once-a-year holidays, but Christmas is in jeopardy just the same. It seems to me that a subtle but sure erosion is eating away the season’s true significance.

The chances are you may have a puzzled look on your face right now. That’s fine, I can understand that. And, on top of that, the likelihood is there’s a big question mark lurking in the front of your mind. You’re wondering to yourself, ‘What on earth is Sam Gordon talking about?’

Are these just the ramblings of an old man fast approaching geriatrica? I don’t think so!

After all, someone is sure to rattle off the following defense: ‘Isn’t Christmas the one time each year when people of every persuasion celebrate the most noble of human values? We talk and sing, don’t we, of peace on earth, and goodwill toward all men? We extol the community spirit of peace, brotherhood, love, and kindness. We put everything else on hold while we gather with our families to give one another gifts and celebrate the holiday. And, when all is said and done, don’t these things capture the essence of Christmas?’

Not quite! Those certainly are good, wholesome virtues and values. I don’t deny that. They are, however, mere vestiges of the real meaning of Christmas.

You see, what Christmas is really about is the birth of Jesus!

The amazingly sensational story of his birth is no allegory. We dare not romanticise it or settle for a fanciful legend that renders the whole story virtually meaningless. Mary and Joseph were real people. Their dilemma on finding no room at the inn surely was as frightening for them as it would be for you and me. The manger in which Mary lovingly laid the infant Jesus must have reeked of disgusting animal smells. So too did the shepherds, in all probability. That first Christmas was anything but the picturesque scene we often envision.

But, surely, that is what makes it all the more wondrous. That tiny baby in the manger is God! To me, that’s the heart and soul of the Christmas message. My prayer is that, over the next few weeks, each of us will come to appreciate the potentially life changing truth of Christmas and all its richness in a way we have never seen or known it before.

May this be the most wonderful Christmas you have ever experienced!