“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all the people. The Savior-yes, the Messiah, the Lord-has been born today in Bethlehem.” Luke 2:10-11
“So, what is the true meaning of Christmas, Hayley?”
“Jesus!” That’s my girl!
“Hunter, why do we celebrate Christmas?”
“To get presents!” Um….well, not the answer I was looking for. This doesn’t bode well coming from the son of a children’s pastor. How did he miss the message of Christmas?
I’ll tell you how….Christmas (in the best Lucy impression I can muster) has gone commercial! Before the Halloween decorations have been packed away, Christmas decorations are already being put on display in the store. Among the shiny tinsel covered trees, or the 8 foot artificial trees with “improved,” multicolor, flickering lights, or the Hot New Toy of the Year-the message is clear-your old tree is so last year. You need one that is bigger and better. Your child needs the Hot New Toy of the Year, otherwise his life is incomplete. And, let’s not get started on what Black Friday has now become-a contest to see which You Tube user can share the biggest brawl over that Hot New Toy!
Don’t get me wrong. I have a tinsel covered tree, I like to buy a shiny, new ornament for my tree each year, and I can’t wait until Thanksgiving Day to pull out my shiny (so last year) decorations. Yes, I even shop. But somewhere between the tinsel, the lights, the Hot New Toy, and the Black Friday sales ads, the true meaning of Christmas has been lost.
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.” Luke 1:31
A child was born. A child who would die to save us, and what do we do each year? Worry about whether our aunt twice removed that we see once a year will like the gift we stressed out over purchasing this year. Christmas and its meaning should bring us great joy. It is a time when instead of stressing over giving gifts, yelling at the cashier because the Hot New Toy of the Year is not on sale, or spending large amounts of money on gifts that will be re-gifted and put underneath someone else’s tree next year, we should be rejoicing! Our Savior was born!
Christmas is about this Savior. The one who loved others, and wants us to do the same. He wants us to be joyful. He wants us to blare those Christmas carols, and sing about Him as loud as we can. He wants us to spend time with our families without the pressure of gifts. He wants us to stop reflecting on what is in our bank accounts, and reflect on Him. He wants us to reflect on the many ways we can give gifts to others that do not cost anything-like joy, time, love, laughter. What if we all gave a little bit more of these instead of more gifts?
My son’s favorite Christmas book is How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The other night as I read a few of his favorite lines:
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?”
Hunter looked up at me and said, “It’s about Jesus, right Mommy?”
Yes, it’s about Jesus, honey!
Now, that’s my boy!