‘Tis The Season: Celebrating Our Love for God and Family

Bezawit O'Neill '23, Faith Editor

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in our December Print Edition on December 13, 2019.

A long time ago, in a faraway town called Nazareth, there lived a young holy girl called Mary who loved God a lot. One day, while Mary was outside, the angel Gabriel appeared to her. Seeing that she was frightened, the Angel Gabriel said: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. You shall conceive and bring forth a son, and you shall call him Jesus. Confused by the angel’s words, Mary replied: “But how can this be for I am not married.” Angel Gabriel replied: You will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and so He shall be holy. He shall be called the Son of God and his kingdom shall have no end. Looking up at the Angel, Mary replied: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done to me according to your words.” 

As Mary was exchanging these words with Angel Gabriel, back in the palace King Herod was plotting the murder of the unborn child. Now King Herold was a cruel, power-hungry man, and when he heard from wise men that a new king was coming to save the Jewish people that Herod ruled over, he felt threatened. So he decided to put a stop to this King before he became too powerful. King Herold had gathered that this new King would rise from the line of David, so a decree was sent out that all men must register their name in their city of their birthplace. He planned to look out for any man who would be traveling to Bethlehem — a man who looks powerful enough to overthrow him. 

A couple of months had passed since the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, and she was now the wife of a carpenter named Joseph. When the decree was sent out, Joseph, who was from the line of King David was forced to travel to Bethlehem, and Mary, now part of his family, had to with him. When they finally reach their destination after a long tiring journey, there was no room for them in an inn. As Joseph frantically searched for a place for his wife to give birth, a kind old innkeeper offered him a stable. And so, in the town of King David, in a cold, dark manger surrounded by animals, Mary’s little boy was born. 

I asked Julie Baker ‘23 why she loves Christmas so much. A big smile crossed her face when she said: “Well, you know Christmas is a very magical time of year. I love all the decoration, the smell of food, lights, music and all the time I get to spend with family. It just all brings me joy and peace.” The birth of Jesus is one of the greatest celebrations for Christians, and it should be a time of love, joy, and peace. Stressing over the perfect gift for others can often make us forget about the greatest gift of all. God sent his only son to save us all from our sin, and no gift we buy in a store can ever be that fulfilling.

For Elyza Tuna ‘23, Christmas is a time for her to cherish the gift of family: “Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, with the delicious food, fancy decorations, and fun games, but there’s more to my family’s Christmas than tinsel and pin the hat on the Santa. It’s about having a big gathering with all our family friends, letting the youngest children lead to grace, having karaoke battles, and present swaps, mini-concerts and pillow forts. All cherished traditions. It’s not just a party; it’s a gathering filled with love and happiness, laughter and giggles, hugging and cheering, and all those good feelings. It’s about watching the same movie every year and having my brother shush me while I recite every line. It’s about waking up at 6 AM on Christmas morning with my brother and waiting for my parents to come down at 9 AM. Christmas is about love and cherishing the love all around you. I am so happy it’s the holiday season!”

That is why it is so important to retell the Nativity story over and over again every year. Jesus was born in a small stable, with no fancy materialistic things. I don’t think the only reason for that was because there was no room for Mary and Joseph when they arrived in Bethlehem. I think God was trying to tell us that we find the greatest joy in simple things. Spending time with family, sharing funny memories, singing along to a favorite song, watching a movie all together, and having someone who loves you by your side brings us far more happiness than finding lots of gifts under the tree. So make sure you have yourself a very Merry Christmas, and spare a thought for those less fortunate than you.