Does Christmas still speak to a fractured and divided America? If properly understood, I think so.
What does Christmas really mean? For me, here are three thoughts:
First, Christmas means pursuit. God first loved us. In Jesus, God initiated the relationship. He didn’t negotiate with us when he chose to put on human flesh and enter our world. There was nothing meritorious in us to motivate his pursuit. He pursued us simply because he loves us. Love always involves pursuit.
Second, Christmas means presence. Once pursued and captured by the Beloved, God gives us his most precious gift: his presence. Christmas is much less about presents and much more about his presence. What is his presence? It’s Jesus and his unconditional love now living in us – every day of our lives. Love always involves presence.
Third, Christmas means purpose. God’s love now indwells the hearts of those who have received Jesus’ forgiveness. But that love has a purpose. In response to receiving God’s love, Jesus’ followers are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. Love’s purpose is reduced to two simple maxims: Love God and your neighbors. It’s the Christian’s impassioned purpose in life. Love always involves purpose.
Now imagine our nation being like a wheel. Each person is a spoke on the wheel. The hub is God’s love. The closer we get to the hub, the closer we get to one another. The farther away we get from the hub, the farther away we get from one another.
The key for healing a fractured America rests in the rediscovery of the true meaning of Christmas. If we would know God’s love, then perhaps we would get closer to one another, our neighbors, and love one another.
If done, I believe that God would heal our land.
Chadwick is senior pastor at Forest Hill Church.