“Behold, I make all things new.” Revelations 21:5
As has been my custom these past thirteen years, Issue 50 will be the final edition of Abundant Living for 2017. So, I take this opportunity to wish all of you, my faithful readers, supporters and encouragers, a blessed Christmas and holiday season with these final thoughts:
It is not known the exact time of Jesus’ birth, which has created much speculation throughout the centuries, along with extensive scholarly research. December 25, of course, eventually became the settled-upon date for celebrating the birth of our Lord, but no one seems to know for sure why that day was chosen either. There are, however, several factors that may have influenced the choice. One source I read theorized, “December 25 was the date the Romans marked as the winter solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year, and the first day in which the days would begin to elongate, and the sun would have a longer presence in the sky. Jesus was identified with the ‘sun’ based on an Old Testament verse [from the Book of Malachi], and the date [25th] is exactly nine months following the Annunciation, when the conception of Jesus is celebrated.” Several other theories exist, but no one knows for sure.
Regardless how it came about, what I find curiously fascinating about December 25 is its one-week proximity to New Year’s Day, such that in our modern world we have tended to lump them together. I doubt that was intentional in the beginning, but perhaps through the increasing commercialization and secularizing of Christmas it has simply evolved into an extended celebration. We say, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year” in one breath, and commonly refer to this time of year as the “Holiday Season”, as if it were all one singular event.
The great irony is that they should be lumped together, for both events celebrate new beginnings. The difference is that New Year’s places the burden on us to begin anew, why we make New Year’s resolutions. Christmas, on the other hand, places the burden on a Babe in a manger who offers new beginnings, restoring our relationship with God. New Year’s resolutions are a sure failure. But the Babe in the manger is a sure thing, for He is the one who proclaims, “Behold, I make all things new.”