A century ago, it was the custom of great nations to send their young sons to foreign countries to learn the customs and temperament of another people. Then when the youngster grew up, he would be in a unique position understand both his own country and the land to which he had been sent. He would have the delicate role of negotiating treaties and trade agreements. And as remarkable as it would seem, he would be loved by both countries.

With all the beauty, warmth, and flourish that the Christmas season can provide, a great young Ambassador has come to our land. He has come to be like us in all aspects. In learning our qualities, he will be able to share with us his background. He comes as the Son of a Great Ruler who wishes to establish ties of love, who places full trust and authority in his Son. God our Father has sent his Son Jesus Christ as a boy child to become a man like us in all things except sin. He is the greatest Christmas gift mankind has ever received: a Child who is God himself. How many thousands f generations have longed to look at the face of God. And in one simple gesture of birth, God shows himself to our time: a Father who loves, a Son who loves. That Son will love enough to offer up his precious human life on a hill in Palestine to bring the love of the Father to us. And the joyful, generous Father will seal this gift with the eternal promise of the resurrection, not only for his Son who deserves it, but for all who believe in his Son, for all who call themselves brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.

Christmas is a passing day, and seldom are Christmas gifts long lasting. But today we receive the Gift of Life. As the coming of a child into a family is a beginning with the promise of growth, so the real Christmas is receiving Christ on a permanent basis, first as the Ambassador from the Father, and secondly as a Brother who cares. Christ comes as a Child to convince us that he will not hide behind his divinity in a kind of diplomatic immunity from human want, worry and pain. He will g before us, experiencing the problems of life. The he will turn back and suggest a way for us to travel.

Christmas for us is people: family, friends. But more, Christmas is a Person: Jesus Christ. He comes to show us how to live by loving; how to grow by suffering. In greeting others with “Merry Christmas”, we become envoys of Christ, spreading not just Christmas cheer, but extending his loving concern. Perhaps some day world powers may come to recognize our Ambassador Christ. Then truces can turn into lasting peace, and we can celebrate an Eternal Christmas.

M.M.R.