Christmas is the season of stuff that didn’t actually happen. A magical snowman with a button nose. A bullied reindeer with a heartwarming story of acceptance. A mischievous elf who delights children and exhausts parents throughout the holidays.
But Christians’ Christmas is different. Just ask Dr. Luke, the man who wrote the longest version of the Bible’s Christmas history. In the original Greek, Luke began his account with the words, “It happened.” Literally, “[It happened] in those days that Caesar Augustus issued a decree” (Luke 2:1). That same phrase, “it happened,” appears four more times in Luke 2:1-20. The point? This isn’t a heartwarming story, an ancient myth, or the stuff of legend. This is fact. History. Truth.
And that’s really good news. It means that there’s a real Jesus, a real Savior, and a real hope for the real stuff you are going through. Frosty and Rudolph can’t help you through cancer, grief, and fractured relationships, but the real Jesus can. Santa and his elves can’t forgive you for the sins of the past year (or the past day), but the real Jesus has. Holiday emotions are not strong enough to support you through the storms of life. But the history of these holy days is the rock upon which our faith is built.
So the next time you see a manger or Mary with child, smile and say with Dr. Luke, “It happened!”