We obviously do not know the exact date of the Messiah's birth. The church has celebrated his birth on December 25 for more than seventeen centuries, give or take a few years. It fits nicely into the liturgical flow of the year and helps us all "remember" the advent of the one who came to save the world. We can all stand a great deal more remembering these days.
My wife and I celebrated the birth of Christ in a lovely communion service where a number of old carols and hymns were appropriately sung as part of the retelling of the drama. The familiar texts of Isaiah 9:2-7 and Luke 2:1-20 were also read. Perhaps the most moving portion of all was the benediction.
"May you be filled with the wonder of Mary, the obedience of Joseph, the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the determination of the magi, and the peace of the Christ child. Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever."
That prayer just about sums up all I desire for on this Christmas Eve, 2006.