Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.
After a busy few weeks, Mary and I have finally caught our breath and are looking forward to celebrating Christmas. All our children, their spouses and kids gather under our roof for a great time filled with lots of activity and (too much) food. With eight young grandkids running around, it will certainly be exciting!
For Mary and me, Christmas is first and foremost the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. In fact, every year, we hang a sign in our home that says “Jesus is the reason for the season.” It should be noted, however, that there continues to be disagreement among scholars concerning the actual birth date of Jesus. An article in History.com provides some interesting facts surrounding the history of Christmas down through the centuries including various appropriations of non-Christian cultural practices into the Christmas celebration.
In the early church, Christmas was not celebrated. Rather, the important celebration was Easter, which marks Christ’s resurrection from the dead. The historical fact of the resurrection based upon eyewitness testimony was then and is now central to the Good News that God has taken irreversible action to reconcile everyone who trusts in Jesus to Himself. Indeed, the historicity of the resurrection lends credibility to the rest of the biblical account including the miraculous birth of Jesus, which is reported in a matter of fact manner in the books of Matthew and Luke in the Bible.
Notwithstanding that the early church did not celebrate Christmas, we are blessed that Christmas is a national holiday in Canada. However, many if not most of those who will enjoy the holiday are not (yet) followers of Jesus. In our ultra secular society, it is sad not only that most people do not celebrate Christmas as Jesus’ birthday but also that many actively speak out against those who do. Our culture has largely repurposed Christmas into whatever people want it to be.
For those of us who follow Jesus, however, the holiday has an infinitely deeper meaning captured succinctly in the following passage from the Bible. “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
Here is a challenge for all of us this Christmas season. Share with someone who has not yet become a follower of Jesus that you believe Jesus is the reason for the season!
All the staff at LeaderImpact join me in wishing you and your family a joyous Christmas.
Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.