Joy To The World
Christmas is a joyful event and why shouldn’t it be? It’s about the birth of a baby and in most cases, a new baby is a gift to the family. It’s such a joy-filled event that we celebrate our birthdates every year.
More than 160 countries around the world celebrate Christmas; we spend weeks planning for it and the holiday is at the center of hundreds of traditions. And while it is the start of the Roman Catholic Church’s liturgical year, Christmas is not the most significant holiday on the calendar. That is Easter — the passion, death and resurrection of Christ so that we could be saved from sin and given eternal life.
But Scottish philosophy and Franciscan John Duns Scotus believed that, even without original sin, there still would have been a Christmas, that Jesus would have been born anyway because of the unconditional love that God has for his children. That helps explain why Francis had such an affinity for the nativity; it is at the center of Franciscan joy and is a key factor that sets followers of Francis apart from other religious theologies.
As welcoming a new baby is a cause for celebration for a family, then certainly the birth of God into the family of humankind is reason for bright lights, shining decorations and world-wide rejoicing, even — no, especially in as difficult a year as 2020 has been. Thank God for the gift of Jesus, the Joy of man’s desiring.