Making sense of the Christmas story

The imagery of Christmas is likely to captivate you, whether Christmas itself makes logical sense to you or not.

You don't need to understand all the doctrine to want to be home for the holidays, but the holidays may be more satisfying if you see the reason for the season.

A message of hope

Christmas is about peace on earth, about freedom from captivity, about healing the broken-hearted. The confidence that this will really happen is what Christian faith is all about. Christmas is not just for children. It is a time for people to appreciate the wisdom and the grace of God.

Levels of meaning

The New Church teaches the Christmas story as written in the Gospels. According to New Church theology, every detail of the story is true, and every word is full of meaning.

The bright star shone in the darkness to represent the truth that had come to a dark world. He was laid in a manger because He would spiritually feed the human race. There was no room in the inn because there was no room for God in people's hearts. He was born to a virgin because He was the Son of God, and also because a virgin stands for the pure love that accepts God into every person's heart. He was born among the poor, because He was to "put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalt the lowly" (Luke 1). This is also why the angels did not appear to rulers but to simple shepherds. SA spiritual star appeared to the wise men, not because they were astronomers but because of the ancient wisdom they possessed.

Light in darkness

Christmas is the celebration of the coming of the Lord Himself into the world, born as a tiny infant, to save the human race. "It is a universal principle of faith that no mortal could have been saved unless the Lord had come into the world. It is a universal principle of faith that He came to remove hell from mankind" (Emanuel Swedenborg, True Christian Religion 2).

The Lord's birth brought light into the darkness of that time, a spiritual darkness that had been building since the time of the Garden of Eden. He came to dispel that darkness by teaching the truth and by overcoming the forces of evil in spiritual battle. "For at that time the power of hell prevailed over the power of heaven, and the power of evil prevailed over the power of good on earth. Consequently, a total damnation stood threatening at the door" (True Christian Religion 3).

The Christmas season is a celebration of ancient wisdom and the promise of peace on earth. May your holiday be filled with God's blessings, and especially that blessing of a light shining in the darkness, amidst the songs of angels.

Daily Inspiration

"If someone possesses humility they are able to accept good from the Lord, since in that case they have been parted from self-love and the evils which stand in the way of accepting it."

Arcana Coelestia 5957