Saturday, December 24, 2011

What is the True Meaning of Christmas?

Today is Christmas Eve.

Christmas, in America, is THE most popular holiday.  Billions are spent on it.  (I'll address that later in this post.) And all sorts of people are asking - what's the true meaning of Christmas?  It's probably the most cliche seasonal question there is.  And many things have addressed it; from Charlie Brown to Santa.

"It's about presents!"


"It's all about Christmas spirit!" (Ever heard that one before?  "There's just no Christmas spirit anymore."  That's another popular cliche.)

The cartoon Charlie Brown, oddly enough, hits the peanut on the mongoose, though. Linus stands up in A Charlie Brown Christmas and quotes the Bible, reminding everyone of the true meaning of Christmas.  Good old Linus, eh?

In our heads, we know that Christ is the meaning for Christmas.  And we even try to make everyone know that.  We post on Facebook ("Remember the CHRIST in CHRISTmas!"). We write blog posts about it.  We tell our dogs and our mongooses.

But still, even though I knew this in my head, it didn't really hit me until a little bit ago.  Up until this point, I had been saying "Merry Christmas!" and "Have a fantastic Christmas!" and all that, but I had yet to think, "Wow!  Christ is born!"

Maybe that's an advantage to being in Liberia on Christmas.  I'm missing my relatives in the U.S. right now and fondly remembering all of the Christmas traditions we used to have and will have again.  But I am (more or less) removed from tradition this Christmas.

Because sometimes tradition can keep us from things that are really important.  (Although it can be wonderful, too.)

So I guess the point of this post is this: readers, don't know it in the head and not feel it in the heart.  Remember.

Christ is born.

This miracle is proclaimed everywhere on Christmas, but somehow, it doesn't affect us.

Christ is born.

GOD came to MAN and the Word became flesh.  And dwelt among us.  How can we even begin to wrap our heads around this?  The creator of the universe, in all its terrible beauty, the God that created us became one of His created.

And when we don't remember this - when America splurges on gifts and lights and presents (that are not inherently moderation) - this is what happens.

Because last year, Americans spent $450 billion on Christmas.  Clean water for the whole world, including ever poor person on the planet, would cost about $20 billion.  And people are dying every day because they don't have clean water.

So, readers, remember.  Like Linus said, and like so many others have said, Christmas is about Christ.  It's a celebration of the miracle that happened when Christ became flesh.  Because when we truly focus on Christ, things change.  It's because we focused on Christ that we moved to Liberia in the first place, if that's any evidence to you.



Leslie and Elizabeth said...

Mmmm. . .So true. Thanks for posting this.


Hannah Joy said...

Very true. To quote the Kutless song, "What is Christmas/if there never was a savior wrapped in a manger?/What is Christmas/without Christ?"

Thanks for the reminder.

Elizabeth L.W. said...

This was great! I follow a lot of friends blogs but none of them really post about things that really matter. I mean sure a few of them do but it's kind of more of a christmas card greeting. Impersonal and sort of meaningless. Thanks for sharing what really does matter!

Anonymous said...

This is very true, Jake. Thanks for reminding all of us of that muchas importante fact. :-)
That's why my all time favorite Christmas song is by Relient K. The chorus goes:
And the first time
That You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior?
And the first breath that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever?

:-) Thanks for the post!

Edna Decker said...

Oh Jake, I just saw this today, thank you. This year we did not have a lot of the tradition so I was able to concentrate more on Jesus being born. You are mature way beyond your age. Love you, Grandma