“No material thing is strong enough to bear the burden of the world. But the everlasting Word [logos] of the eternal God is the firmest and surest support of the whole. He stretches to reach from the middle to the edges and from the heights to the middle, uniting and binding all the parts with nature's unfailing course. For the Father who begot Him made Him the unbreakable bond of all".
Philo of Alexandria.
So what's it really about then?
Spending too much. Eating too much. Totally forgotten nights at New Year's because of way to much drink?
It's all just a jumble of old traditions - mistletoe and mince pies, Santa and carols. The 'religious' bits are unnecessary - irrelevant really. Family and friends and "happy" moments - that's what it's actually all about.
The contemporary Christmas certainly wants to substantiate a new myth - that Christianity's 'idea' of us being visited by God Himself was some kind of much later invention - Jesus really wasn't important in that way - just a nice guy to think about now and then, a little like father Christmas!
It's a lie that is quickly (and rightly) binned in a few moments.
A century before the nativity, the Jewish scholar Philo wrote the above words, echoing something which had been recognized in Judaism from the days of Moses and earlier - the issue of the 'mystery' of the persons of Elohim (the Lord God), touched upon so clearly in the passages of the Old Testament (Isaiah 44:6).
Within the very first days of the church beginning to proclaim Jesus as Lord (supreme authority), it was clear that such statements and hymns spoke of such Lordship being expressed in Christ's life, death and resurrection (Philippians 2:5-11) and that this therefore became the source of our understanding of the nearness and purpose of God - to draw close to us that we might touch and see His goodness and intent; to rescue us from darkness by His love.
The very 'Word', which both Paul and Philo remind us holds all things together to do the Father's will, came amongst us - that is the intent of the season, to reflect upon how the one who perfectly reflects and conveys the astonishing fellowship and nature of God came to us, lost souls that we are, that we might touch, might see the reality of God's love.
History and revelation bear witness to this truly supernatural fact - a truth which should season our days here with a sense of what, thankfully, truly resides beyond the often pantomime-like 'festivities' that parade as Christmas.
"God of God, Light of Light, Lo He abhors not the Virgin's womb,
Very God, begotten not created,
Oh come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord".