Christmas. The day we Christians celebrate as Jesus Christ’s birthday.
Christmas. The season in which almost everyone overspends on gifts that the receiver probably doesn’t need. It’s the season of carols and bells, laughter, joy, family, friends, too much food, and delicious homemade treats. It usually brings out the best in people. It’s also the holiday that I mostly hate.
I say mostly because there are some parts of the season that I really do like. I love the lights and decorations, the music, the Advent season, the candlelight service on Christmas Eve…I love all of that. What I hate is the shopping and spending money on gifts that no one really needs, I hate the expectation that I have to provide presents at all. It’s a crazy tradition that I have struggled understanding for the past several years. I mean, really…why do I have to buy presents at all for my family and/or friends? Doesn’t it defeat the purpose of focusing on the birth of Christ and the Hope of salvation the he provides?
I’ve spent a lot of time this season really contemplating this tradition (all while still shopping for the perfect gifts for my kids). I began to have a glimmer of revelation this morning as I was searching for a photo to share on my social media pages to mass-wish a Merry Christmas to my friends and family.
I was tempted to post simple “Merry Christmas” and leave it at that, after all I am a self-proclaimed Grinch during the Christmas holiday, but I wanted the Christmas wish to represent something that is important to me during this holiday so I continued searching until I landed on this photo:
Something about this photo spoke to me. I would even say that I felt compelled to share this particular photo. The more I looked at it, the clearer the message became. I knew that this was the photo- the answer- that I had been looking for.
I decorate the Christmas tree as a representation of a gift I would give to Jesus (and as the budget allows) if he were here. Admittedly, most years I feel like I’m the poor shepherd boy with nothing to give except my song. This year is not very different except that this photo speaks volumes. It shows the Nativity lighted by the bright star that shines down to form the shape of a Christmas tree. The focus of Christmas is Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary. Which made me think of the presents that adorn the floor under the tree.
When Jesus was born, people from all social classes came from far away to bring gifts to Christ the King. It really is no different today as we decorate the Christmas tree in celebration of Christ’s birthday and we buy gifts out of love for others to give to them. That’s why people brought gifts to the King. They loved him. Since we cannot physically give gifts to Christ whom we love and adore, we spread the love of Christ by giving those gifts under the tree to those whom we love.
I’m doing a terrible job of explaining my Christmas Revelation, but maybe it won’t matter as this revelation is mine. The message is loud and clear to me. God has revealed this little tidbit about Christmas to my searching heart, and I am grateful.
I still don’t enjoy shopping, but maybe I will hate it less next season. Maybe then I will be less of a grinch because I will have learned the same lesson that Seuss’ Grinch learned:
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. 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.”
(“How the Grinch Stole Christmas”, Dr. Seuss)