I’d like to take a step back from amiibo for a second. Today is Christmas – my second favorite holiday of the year. I hope that you get lots of amiibo for Christmas this year, and that you spend time with the people you care about. Those people are important.
There’s a lot more to Christmas than amiibo, though. That’s what I want to talk about today.
Christmas is traditionally a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, believed by Christians to be the Jewish Messiah. The story is worth an in-depth read, even from a secular perspective, because of its philosophical implications.
God, operating as an independently-functioning arm, took on a physical form (Jesus of Nazareth, posthumously known as Jesus Christ) and entered this world through Mary’s birth. This was foretold several hundred years earlier in Old Testament texts (see Isaiah 53, written in the second century BC according to recovered texts that predate the birth of Jesus, which makes the most specific claims about the person who would become the Messiah). The accuracy between Isaiah 53 and the life of Christ as it was lived according to both the Bible and the later accounts from historians is astounding – which is probably how Mary’s family knew that she was telling the truth about the angel.
Jesus grew up as any Jewish boy would in those days: he had siblings, a family, a hometown, and so on. Yet Jesus knew his ultimate physical destiny, and that was to take on the suffering of the world onto himself and be a sacrifice to atone for the sins of all mankind. If mankind’s sins had been atoned for, then people could choose to accept or reject that atonement and ultimately enter Heaven through God’s graceful action. I won’t explain all the history behind why that’s the case, as that’s a topic for a different day.
He suffered intense physical pain and literal torture, and was ultimately murdered by the practitioners of the Jewish religious structure he had taken part in his whole life. But take note of one of the last things Jesus said before he died: “Father (in reference to God in heaven, operating as the main arm) forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Let me get this straight. God, as a human, decided to leave the glories of Heaven to come suffer with us humans, get murdered, forgives his murderers with his last breaths, and suffers through all of it for the explicit purpose of getting human beings into Heaven despite our shortcomings and sins. That’s how much God loves you. The fact that an omniscient being decided that you and I, in our limitations and shortcomings, are worth spending eternity with, says a lot more about love than any present ever could.
When someone says to you, “Merry Christmas”, remember the birth of Christ. Remember that God paid with his own blood because he loves you, whether or not you choose to love him back.