Working in retail, I get to see some things around the holidays. Lots of spoiled brats demanding super large TV’s, the latest game systems or top of the line gaming computers. And no, I’m talking about adults, not children. So many customers seem to be so focused on what gifts they will be opening or buying for someone else. You very rarely ever hear anyone speak about what Christmas really is.
It’s not a celebration of some guy named Nicholas who did some nice things for needy families, although that became a part of the history throughout the generations. It’s not a celebration of presents waiting to be opened. It’s not a celebration of having some time off from work and doing a little traveling.
Christmas is meant for Christ followers to celebrate the birth of Christ, hence the CHRIST in the name CHRISTmas. This is the time of year that was decided would be the approximate time of the birth of Jesus. The only gift we should be super excited about and celebrating is the Son of God, come down in human flesh to finish God’s plan to be able to show us the grace and mercy that He desired to so that we could be with Him for eternity instead of paying our debt somewhere far less pleasant. Christmas is a time to remember the most amazing gift that has ever been given.
Of course it’s a time to celebrate with family and friends It’s a time to share meals with each other. It’s a time of year where we are reminded to be more generous to others who are less fortunate than we are. But in all honesty, we should always celebrate Christ and the gift of His sacrifice, not just during the winter season. We should always be generous to those less fortunate. We should always be kind and treat others with love, compassion and understanding. In fact, we are called to “Lovc your neighbor as you love yourself” in each of the gospels. That’s not a once a year thing, it’s an each and every day of your life thing.
The most important part of the Christmas season is celebrating the earthly birth of the One who would be the ultimate King for all eternity (and who already has been ruler of all since long before the creation of anything that we know since God has always been). His birth began a journey that we get to read about in the New Testament that brings about God’s new covenant with man. His life was a lesson on how we each should live every single day. Not just outwardly, but inwardly as well.
We can have faith that His story is true. The people that knew Him the best were willing to die to share the Good News. You wouldn’t be willing to give your life to cover up a lie and keep the story going. And since His story is true, we have the opportunity to be saved of the punishment that we deserve and to be welcomed lovingly into the family of God! Not a single thing that I have done or will ever do can earn me that honor, only the sacrifice of Jesus and my faith in Him and His love can allow that merciful grace to be given to me.
This holiday season, enjoy your loved ones. Enjoy the holiday party at work. Enjoy the gift giving and receiving. Enjoy the smiles and extra friendliness shared by others. All of those are good things. But the MOST important thing this season is to remember just how much God loves us. He came down in human form to live amongst us as one of us and to give His life in exchange for ours. The perfect gift has been given to each and every person.