You’ve survived Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You might even have all your Christmas shopping done, although you might be waiting for things to arrive. You are all set for Christmas. I think, however, that we have lost a lot of what Christmas is truly about. In the United States, retailers count on people to spend as much as they can on Christmas, and often more than they can afford, just to have the latest gadgets and gizmos. But how does that play into Christmas? What is Christmas truly about at its core and where did we get into giving gifts and fighting at Walmart over the latest crazed toy?
At it’s heart, Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, our Savior. It’s the story of how He came to save us from our sins. Gifts were given to honor Him, with the Magi bringing gold to honor Him, frankincense to perfume His body and scent the air, and myrrh to anoint His body. Today, we exchange gifts as a remembrance of that, but we seem to take it far further than ever imagined. In the not so distant past, gifts were handmade and had meaning to them. They could have been gifts of baked goods, needlework, or something to decorate your home with. Children would get a few toys to play with, but never to the extent that we go to now. Today’s society has driven us to the illusion that the gift has no meaning unless it’s the latest and greatest, or expensive. How many jewelry commercials come out just for the Christmas season? Or luxury car commercials with big red bows on the top? When do we get back to basics and spread the one gift that not only keeps on giving, but was the one gift that Jesus preached that we needed to give? Love. Love one another unconditionally.
Loving one another means many things to many people. Helping people when they are down on their luck, even if it’s just a smile and a cup of coffee, can often brighten their day. Be someone that your friends can come to for advice, a hug, or just a listening ear. When someone does something good, especially children, acknowledge it and give them a “good job!’. It goes a long way in showing them you care. We are busy in our lives, but taking a few seconds to connect with someone and acknowledge them can make the difference in a day. Take time out to spend quality, uninterrupted time with family and friends, reconnect with our humanity that seems lost in the day to day grind, and find not only their moods improving, but also your own. These are the things Christ showed us in his ministry when he walked the earth. And they are the very things that we’ve lost in our fast paced world of making and spending money to stay ahead of the neighbors.
Take this Christmas and get back to the roots of your faith and connect with people. Do something kind. Make someone’s day better. Love unconditionally. Then spread the truth of Christ in love. That is the TRUE Christmas cheer not just around the holiday time, but throughout the year. This is truly the best gift.