If you look it up in the encyclopedia it talks about how Christmas is an annual festival, held on December 25, to celebrate the Nativity, or birth of Christ, okay so far so good. Immediately it goes into the fact that the origin of the festival is unknown. It is believed that some of it came from rites held by pre-Christian Germanic and Celtic people to celebrate the winter solstice something that started around the 4th century. Piece by piece it was added on to incorporating pagan customs, such as the use of holly, mistletoe, Yule logs, wassail bowls, and then in the 17th century the Christmas tree that started out to symbolize the tree in the Garden of Eden. Later the English name of the legendary jolly, red-garbed man who delivers presents to good children at Christmas, Santa Claus was added to this event.
It seems like over the years as things were added to this celebration other things were being taken away from it. Sadly enough the things that was taken away are the things that pertain to Christ and the celebration of his birth such as the nativity and the term Merry Christmas. Little by little the only part about Christmas that remains and is forever growing is the part that pertains to us and what we get out of the season. It’s become “our holiday” but for all the wrong reasons, for selfish gain instead of spiritual gain.
Christmas like anything else is what we make of it. It seems like over the years that we have had to define things more and more in black and white terms so the definition of it doesn’t get lost in the twisted version of what it truly means. If we were to define in our own hearts the true Christmas and what it should mean to us what would it be, let’s try? Christmas is a time to stop and think about the origin of Christ, the process or circumstance surrounding His birth, with a little more emphasis on the why this was happening than the how.
That little baby that the shepherds and everyone saw that night was here on a mission to save you and me. Not even born yet ourselves and yet the fate that awaited us without the interception of Christ was not going to be a pleasant one. The exact date of His birth may not be correct but it’s a date that has been chosen to celebrate it. Recently my husband and I got a black lab puppy and our granddaughters wanted to know when his birthday was. Trying to pinpoint a good estimated time of arrival into this world we figured January 7th was close enough, whether we hit it right on the head as far as accuracy it didn’t matter, it was our time to celebrate our dog’s beginning that eventually lead him to us.
Christmas is our time to celebrate Christ. It’s not about the lights, the gifts, the meal, the gatherings, the bonus’ we get at work during that time, it’s about the fact that Christ arrived here from heaven to introduce us to the wonderful blessing of His grace, to set an example in His life for us to follow and then took our place on the cross so we wouldn’t have to. There’s nothing wrong with traditions, putting up lights, eating the meal, giving the gifts or even receiving them or spending the Christmas bonus we may get. However, it’s when we replace Christ with those traditions that it becomes an issue in our lives. It’s important that we not only make Jesus the reason or cause for the season but the reason and cause for our life.
We can’t be guilt of getting Christ lost in the manger, lost in our lives because we don’t take the time to come to Him as the shepherds and the wise men did. It only took an angel telling the shepherds to go; it only took a star to get the wise men to follow it to Christ. What is it going to take to get people to come to the scene of the beginning, the start of something that leads us to an eternal life in Heaven that is beyond anything we could ever imagine?
Dear Heavenly Father praise you Lord for your Son that you sent here for us, thank you God for this precious life that is worth celebrating. May we do our part in honoring Him as we ourselves serve as the star and the angel that help guide and direct others to where Christ can be found in their lives. Amen.
© 2006 by Karen J. Gillett