Every Christmas season, I eagerly and excitedly get ready in anticipation for my favorite time of year. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see that lately, ALL of my posts have some sort of Christmas theme to them.
I know you've all heard it before, but the reason for the season often gets lost of in all of the doings and the goings. We often try to make sure that we remember why we are celebrating. You hear in church on Sundays the pastor tell you to SLOW DOWN and concentrate on what we're really doing. Your children in Sunday School learn all of the symbols of Christmas and why we give gifts, etc. But...it still feels like we're missing something.
The society today will try to convince you that Christmas is the time of year to give and to get. The time of the year that everyone feels a little bit more generous and dumps that little bit of change in the Salvation Army kettle or donates hastily before the end of the year to that charity saying your gift will be doubled. You hear of people on the radio talk about how we are so blessed in American and how kids in third world countries don't get anything for Christmas, not even food.
I remember as a child on Christmas morning that my sisters and I would rush downstairs to see gazillions of presents spilling out from beneath the tree. We would want to open them, but Mom would always stop us, make us sit down at eat breakfast, and then we would sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.
Yes, we are celebrating Jesus' birth. But that's not just what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown. Its not just Jesus' birth. Because the more I learn about Christmas, the more I learn about we are celebrating WHY Jesus was born.
One of my favorite Christmas songs is by Relient K called "I Celebrate the Day". (Listen to it here!) Their single lyrics says it all for me:
I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray to You to save my life
If we are to truly celebrate Christmas, isn't it imperative that we celebrate that Jesus was born to die? Not just to die, but to die a painful, unthinkable death for me.
I don't think I have truly wrapped my mind around that.
How do we celebrate such a gift? Its that moment when someone gives you something you so desperately need that you could not possible get for yourself. Do we donate to poor children? Give to families in need? Sing Christmas carols? Celebrate family?
I don't think there is one right answer, but knowing what I know of God's heart, I believe He would want us to love to the fullest extent of our abilities. To take His gift to us and make it explode. Because true gratitude for Jesus' death comes with the understanding that we can never repay Him back. But we can pass on the news.
So, may your celebrations of Jesus' birth be filled with a warmth in your heart and a peace in your soul that only comes from knowing that we celebrate the most valuable gift ever given.