Today it’s easy to think that Christmas is about Santa Claus, Christmas trees, gift giving, parties, getting together with friends and family, having time off, and being in the holiday spirit. Christmas has become commercialized and stressful. Most people say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”, although President Donald Trump says he will change that very soon. I certainly hope so. The world has tried desperately to take Christ out of Christmas in recent years. And the secularized version of Christmas has been winning over the Christian version. In my own lifetime the changes in how Christmas is celebrated has changed and transformed at an alarming pace. I no longer even recognise Christmas from the one I knew in my childhood. Alas, the world changes too fast and I don’t want to keep up either, at least as far as Christmas is concerned.
So where did Christmas come from? Look at the roots of the word itself. You have Christ and mas, which is short for mass. So it comes from the Roman Catholic tradition of celebrating a mass in honor of Christ’s birth. Many of the customs over the years got borrowed from the secular traditions of Santa Claus and other things as well. And the Roman Catholics brought in the nativity scenes with the figures of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus with halos around their heads. The halos are the artist’s rendition of the glory of God shining forth from these holy people. One of my own favorites is the yearly symphonic orchestra rendition of Handel’s Messiah.
But What’s Christmas really about? It is about God so loving the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. It is God coming in the form of a man, with a flesh and blood body, to personally teach us the way of salvation. It is about “Peace on earth and goodwill toward man”. It is God giving the greatest gift to this world that has ever been given in all of history. Jesus Christ came to one day die a horrible death by crucifixion as the sacrificial lamb, to bear the sins of mankind, so that whosoever yearns for forgiveness and a second chance may have it. It is about man’s redemption and salvation.
Christmas is still a very beautiful time for those who have eyes to see the beauty of it. Children especially are blessed with the ability to see the magic and the beauty that is Christmas. God gave the greatest gift to mankind, and the three wise men came to give gifts to God’s Son in honor of his birth. So the tradition of gift giving was born from that. We give and receive gifts from a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of God’s Son given to us.
Christmas is a time to draw closer to God and to family. It is a time to reverence and worship the Lord, and to rededicate ourselves to him. It is a time to heal our broken relationships with family and friends, and to strengthen the ones that already are flourishing. Christmas is a magical time of celebration and renewal. When seen and felt properly there is a warm glow and a joyful feeling known as, “The Christmas spirit”. It is real and available to one and all.
Christmas was placed at the end of the calendar year on purpose. It is to close the old year with a celebration and a renewal both mental, spiritual, and emotional, in the lives of the people. Then the New Year can begin with a positive note and celebration before the grind of life begins once again. Christmas is a small vacation away from the burdens and the cares of this world. I hope that you get into the Christmas spirit this year and enjoy the beautiful benefits that it contains. And above all else, enter into the awesome communion and worship of Almighty God, as you thank him for his incredible gift of his very own Son. May God richly bless you this Christmas season. Merry Christmas!