It’s that time of year again. The time of year when the radio stations play music that makes you smile all day long, the stores flaunt their decorations and special sales, and Toys ‘R Us sends out humongous gift catalogues to every household in the nation, complete with coupons and special offers. Oh, and not to mention the endless commercials reminding you to buy one item and receive another half price…for limited time only, of course.
Yep, that’s right. It’s Christmas time.
Like one carol states, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
But what does Christmas really mean? Does it mean that a fat guy in a red suit comes down and magically distributes gifts if you were good all year? Does it mean that this same guy slides down your chimney, eats all your cookies, drinks a glass of milk, drops off a few toys, and then somehow climbs back up the chimney and goes on to do the same exact thing for your neighbor? Does it mean that it’s a holiday full of “I want this…I want that”?
Christmas is more than decorating the tree, baking cookies, and buying gifts for the people we love. It’s more than listening to carols, watching “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth on this earth. The same little baby born in a manger grew up to be the One who saved us all from sin and death. To me, Christmas is not only a day spent hanging out with family and friends, but also a day to imagine what it must have really been like the day Jesus was born.
What was it like for Mary and Joseph when they were rejected by the innkeepers? After being rejected because it was too crowded in the inn, what would I have felt if I were led to a stable to give birth to the Christ? What did the shepherds feel when many angels stood before them singing about the Messiah’s birth? What did the three wise men think when they were told to follow a star? Every Christmas, these questions run through my mind. I try to put myself in each one of the person’s shoes and imagine what they must’ve felt experiencing it all first hand. That must’ve been incredible! They must’ve been in awe; breathless in the midst of all the excitement.
Since Christmas is celebrating Christ’s birth, why then is it unacceptable to say “Merry CHRISTmas” to the cashiers and strangers passing by? Why do we greet people and offer a “Happy holidays” instead? Why does it offend a person when another person smiles and exclaims a “Merry Christmas” in a friendly and joyful way?
Christmas is celebrating Jesus’ birth to the perfect life he lived and then sacrificed for our lives and our sins. Christmas is not about the tales of a fat man in a red suit saying “Ho Ho Ho!” Christmas is a wonderful day that should be spent glorifying God and thanking Him for what He has done and for the gift He has sent through his Son, Jesus.
This Christmas, don’t forget to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone around you. Don’t forget to spend some time reading the real Christmas story and imagining what the people must have thought and felt. Don’t forget to thank God for sending you the greatest gift of all…His perfect Son. Most importantly, don’t forget to proudly exclaim “Merry Christmas!” to everyone you meet. Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you have a wonderful day!