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So This is Christmas

christmas-tree-in-woods.jpgIn some homes, there are brightly lit trees with flashy ornaments and a pile of gifts sitting underneath waiting to be opened. Some families travel to the homes of other family members and celebrate in another state and so they don’t put up a tree.

Many people are out at the stores, rushing around to get that last present or that last item to fix for Christmas dinner, while others are still putting up the trees and wrapping the presents to be put out early in the morning so the kids will think that Santa stopped overnight.

Everyone celebrates Christmas in their own way, often keeping age old family traditions alive by going on sled rides, caroling around the Christmas tree or maybe sitting by the fire telling the newest children in the family the real story of Christmas. Some families will go to a Christmas Eve service, but sadly not many churches do that anymore.

Some may pull out handed down ornaments or decorations that have been used for generations and some will sit around and talk about the ones that have gone on to heaven and are no longer around to share the traditions handed down. Others will start the preparations for dinner the next day, getting all the baking done and filling the house with so many great aromas.

There are those who are lonely, and may not have a place to go and there are those in other countries who, believe it or not, have never heard of Christ and Christmas. There are some countries where it is celebrated different from ours and some countries where it is a crime to mention him or celebrate Christmas, a crime that is actually punishable by prison or death.

I have to remind myself to remember often what these holidays are really about because there are so many loved ones who are not around to share it with me. Some of them live in other states while others have gone on to be with the lord. Memories of Christmas, both good and bad, often haunt me during this time.

This year I saw several posts, negative posts put up about Christmas. One was complaining about the insertion of pagan symbols or ideas into the holidays like the Christmas tree, which did have pagan beginnings but over the generations has come to symbolize something festive and joyful to behold, something that signifies eternal life because the original trees were always firs and pines that stay green all year around, while others were complaining about the date, which is said to be the pagan date for the celebration they called Saturnalia. But I have to ask the question “does it really matter.”

While some researchers claim that Jesus was born in the spring or fall because of the shepherds still being out with the flocks, other researchers suggest that they were the shepherds in charge of making sure there were sacrificial lambs close by for the temple rituals.

“But does it matter?” People are not worshiping the Christmas tree as what it used to symbolize, the recovery of a pagan god from illness, nor do I think that Jesus would tell someone who truly believed in him that they couldn’t enter Heaven because they celebrated his birth on the wrong day.

The reason for the season is so much more important than these trivial complaints. We are celebrating the birth of the son of God, who came to earth as a human man to teach, to see our suffering, to die cruelly on a cross and arise back into heaven as an intermediary between us and the father, so we could be forgiven of our sins.

We are celebrating the birth of the only one who can forgive our sins and promise us an eternal life after this one. This is the time of year to think about the true meaning of Christmas instead of looking for the faults in this Holiday.

Its not the Christmas tree nor the presents underneath. It’s not the dinner or deserts that we devour. It’s not the amount of money we spend or the stress we create trying to make everything perfect. Jesus is the Reason for the Season.

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