In today’s world, we often forget why Christmas matters. I believe that by secular standards, He is one of the ten most influential people to ever live (many would argue the first, but I am not looking for an argument). His teaching completely revamped human culture. His movement has grown century after century. His devotees have had as great an impact for good in the history of the world as anyone ever born.
Consider the state of the world before Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. The world was a very dark place where violence and the dark side of power were revered. The voices of people who advocated living by the better side of our nature never quite gained traction. After him, there was a philosophical, societal framework for a Kingdom based upon love, mutual respect, and justice which could spread across cultures and unite people of all kinds of heritages.
Before Jesus there would be no investments for hospitals because the sick were seen as weak. Doctors were regarded a body plumbers and not highly regarded. His emphasis on healing changed that.
Women were often not regarded outside of their role in fertility and sexuality in the majority of cultures. Christian ethics regarded them equally. Everything from the role of the blessed Mother to the fact that Jesus himself first appeared after the Resurrection to the women and entrusted them to give his message to the Apostles until he came to Apostles personally, gave rise to the new respect that women had. Women held office in the Church as deaconesses, evangelists, teachers, and prophets. Widows were to be regarded not killed to go with their husbands. The Women’s suffrage movement came out of the Christian Church along with the anti-slavery movement.
Children were no longer property to be thrown away if imperfect. Abortion, infanticide, and abandonment were forbidden. Jesus set the example personally by taking time to be with children during his services and defending them to the leadership.
The creation of Charities were inspired by Mathew 25 and other teachings.
The emphasis on universal education, the invention of the printing press, and the development of modern science came out of the Christian philosophy. So did universal human rights. Man is created in the image of God and deserves respect solely on that basis.
His teachings and actions were a radical departure from the norm and 2000 years later we are still trying to attain that standard. The great news is that the world is forever better because of the evolution of our standards which he set in motion.
You can think religion is a joke and still find reasons to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ or Yeshua of Nazareth. If we don’t discuss the impact he had on all of us, it is no wonder many can have a winter break or a holiday season. Go celebrate the renewal of humanity, celebrate Christmas.