Every year the world--and the church--experiences Christmas, that curious amalgam of paganism, commercialism and Christianity which Western civilization has invented to tide it over the darkest days of the winter. It would be easy to be critical. Yet, in a day of small things, the festive season, so called, has one advantage: it reminds the public of at least the name and the fact of Jesus Christ. The pity is that men seldom go beyond that and that the church itself appears content to leave the supreme mystery of its faith only vaguely hinted at in the glitter and gaiety of what it calls its greatest festival. Christmas is a lost opportunity, a time when the world invites the Church to speak and she blushes, smiles and mutters a few banalities with which the world is already perfectly familiar from its own stock of cliches and nursery rhymes.
The question is still worth asking: What is this Christmas event which everyone hints at but no one talks about? The answer, of course, is the nativity; and the significance of that is defined for us by the Apostle John in one of the greatest statements in the New Testament: "The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (Jn 1:14).
- Donald Macleod, From Glory to Golgotha