Well, it’s that time of the year again! A magical time of the year, filled with celebration, frequent parties, gifts, hustle-and-bustle, family gatherings, and seemingly endless miles of decorations. Yes, it is Christmas again. This happens to be one of my favorite times of the year. Final exams are finally done, which means that I will not have to spend seemingly endless hours in the library striving to perfect my performance in the classroom for one final test. Times are less busy; I am able to sit at home and recover from the strenuous academic semester. We have a Christmas tree up and decorated, and the mantle is lit up with white lights and a Nativity scene. The house often smells of warm spices as my mother bakes her Christmas treats, scented candles are filling the house with their fragrances, and often there is Christmas music coming from the radio. Yes, this is a truly magical time of the year; I do not know what I would do without it.
In the midst of these festivities, however, it is quite simple to forget the true meaning of Christmas. What is the reason behind all these festivities? Why do we go to such great lengths to put on these vast celebrations? Surely such an important holiday has an origin! The truth of the matter is that, yes, it does have a beginning. Nearly two thousand years ago, Christ came to earth in the form of a baby. In the Gospel of Luke, we find this story portrayed to us very vividly. In Luke 1:26-38, the angel Gabriel visits Mary and tells her that she will bear a son, who will be the savior of all mankind. This was big news to Mary, especially since she wasn’t married quite yet and had not “known” a man. However, this baby was to be born of divine conception; the father of this baby was God himself. Carrying around this baby must have been hard; at that time, those who became pregnant out of wedlock were looked upon very poorly. Even though Mary did not make this mistake, she still had to deal with the scorns of her community. Mary went through a lot while she carried the Lord Jesus.
During the time when Mary and Joseph were heading off to Bethlehem due to a census (Luke 2:1-3) that required each man to travel back to his hometown, it came time for Jesus to be born. Mary gave birth in a stable, filled with the common farm animals of the day (Luke 2:7). In this way, Christ Jesus, a humble servant from very humble beginnings, entered into the world to save mankind from their sins. He was not announced to the “big shots” of the day; rather, the angels came to the Shepherds, who were looked upon as being “low class” in that time period. Christ came to serve the common people and provide a way of salvation to all who believe upon him. This is what Christmas is all about. This birth was the most miraculous birth in all of humanity. God sending forth His son was no laughing matter; it seems fitting that we should name our biggest holiday after our eternal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Despite all of this nearly two thousand years ago, I am convinced that our society has twisted Christmas into something that it should not be. Instead of focusing on Christ, society has turned Christmas into a celebration of materialism and greed. People now focus on what they can “get” rather than what they can “give” in sincere service to Christ our savior. Corporate America has capitalized on Christmas by making huge profits on items sold as Christmas gifts. Anymore, it is hard to find the word “Christmas” in our society; so many attempts have been made to rid America of this word in order to maintain political correctness. In advertisements within the season, we find the phrase “Merry Christmas” replaced with greetings such as “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings.” In 2007, Lowes Home Improvement stores made an attempt to change the names of their Christmas trees to “Family Trees” in order to remove the word ‘Christmas’ from their stores. Numerous atheist and agnostic groups are successfully prodding the nation in the direction of removing the term “Christmas” with numerous claims about the unconstitutionality of displays of Christmas symbols in public buildings, public schools, and other important public structures. Needless to say, there is a war upon Christmas in our society; people no longer seem to celebrate Christmas for the right reasons anymore.
I was listening to a radio station the other day, and came across a song that I found to be particularly interesting. I do not remember the radio station or both the title and composer of the piece, but I do remember some of the lyrics that said that “we just gotta believe” and “believe [in that Christmas magic].” This song had no connections to Christ that I am aware of; it was of secular origin. Without meaning offense to the artist, I remember thinking to myself, “Believe? Believe in what?!” There is no Christmas magic and Christmas joy without the true meaning of Christmas engrained in our minds. Without Christ, I see no reason to celebrate Christmas! Jesus is, indeed, the reason for the season, and I am overjoyed to celebrate a holiday that exists because of His birth. There definitely is a place for Christmas lights, trees, and cookies; these things are all part of the Christmas fun. However, we must not forget why we celebrate Christmas. It is a celebration of out Lord’s birth. Jesus provides us a base to which to enjoy all of this Christmas fun. There is a reason to why it is the most wonderful time of the year; a relationship with Christ is the most wonderful part of our lives!
This Christmas, I want to challenge all to remember why we celebrate Christmas. Remember the gift that Christ was to us, and seek to give to others in Christ’s name. If we remember why we celebrate Christmas, we will have a lot more fun this holiday season. Christ truly gives us a reason to celebrate. With that, I want to wish all a very Merry Christmas. May each and every one grow in favor with the Lord Jesus for the remainder of this year and for the years to come. God bless, and enjoy this wonderful time of the year.