Hope you had a very merry Christmas ^_^ As you can probably tell from the title, it still hasn't snowed here
But Christmas was great all the same
You know..something had me thinking earlier this year about what Christmas has become nowadays..and something I thought was really sad was that some people (well, no, a LOT of people) have forgotten, or don't even know, the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas.
I'm gonna get the easy stuff out of the way first, but actually, come to think of it, the easy stuff is also relevant. Like, how some people say Christmas is not about the presents, cause it kinda is. Christmas celebrates the memory of Jesus' birth, who was God's gift to all
of mankind. But I'll elaborate later.
Here's what Christmas is definitely not
about. It's not about getting the best gift, partly because the best gift has already been given and, honestly, who can top that? It's not about having the biggest tree, or selling the most toys, or getting the most views or the most people to join our online contest (you didn't thinkI'd make it so dA relevant, did you?) These are just the little things. They're not bad things, they're just not as important. I'm not saying you shouldn't try to give the best gifts, but..ah, shoot. Here, let's put everything in order, starting with one very well known jolly giant.
Now, I'm not opposed to St. Nick and what he had done. I think it was and still is a great idea. I love the fun and laughter all the references and shows and movies and cards and art and so on that have become part of the Christmas norm. Now, I have a friend, and I'm not pointing fingers, I neither agree nor disagree with her, but this is her opinion. She doesn't approve of Santa Claus, and I've never specifically asked her why but I'm pretty sure I can guess. See, the Christmas story is about Christ coming to the broken earth in the most humble and subtle way so that we all who have been shrouded on darkness (which is all of us, myself of course included) so that there could be light. I think she thinks that having a bearded character in a bright red suit as the centre of Christmas takes away from it's true origin. I personally don't disapprove of Father Christmas. To be honest, when I was a kid, I thought he was some sort of mail man who sorted out all the presents your friends and relatives sent to you and added a little package himself (this is most likely because my parents always got us to write thank you notes to whoever gave us pressies) I think that it's fun to have a lot of these traditional quirks, if you like. The grotto, footprints in the snow, half-eaten carrots in the garden, letters to the North Pole, the list goes on. But neither can I fully agree with the position of Santa as the centre of all that Christmas is, cause that's Jesus' spot, simple as that. As fun and funny as it is to have the jolly red giant amongst our annual festivities, it is important for us to remember why we even have a Christmas to celebrate in the first place.
The Christmas story is one of the most amazing moments in history that had absolutely no 'flair'. There was nothing glamorous about the first Christmas, unlike the cozy nativity scenes we see today. It wasn't easy for Mary to be the mother of the world's Saviour. Being pregnant at her point in life could have led her being stoned to death, as she was not yet married. Joseph must have been pretty anxious as well. So many assumptions would have been made that could have let to a life of shame. Also, his wife (or fiancé at the time) was pregnant with a son that was not his own. If I were Jo, I would have been pretty nervous too! Then there's the stable. If you've ever been to a farm, you'd understand that I need not elaborate any further on this point. The smell of unwashed animals and their..um, 'by-products' was probably extremely unpleasant. Plus, it was a stable
. Not exactly where you'd expect the King of all the world to be born. It was probably also really cold, because it was nighttime and I doubly the stable offered the cozy amount of shelter that a proper inn room would. Yet, this was where God had chosen to come into the world. These were the people He trusted with His Son, who was gonna change the world.
Also, there are the first people who heard about this good news. The shepherds. Now, bear in mind that the following is not a poke at shepherds today, just some historical background. At that time, if you were a shepherd, you were an outcast. No one trusted you, you wouldn't be able to stand as a witness in court. Due to your work with animals, and possible lack of showers, you were considered 'unclean' and thus would not be allowed to worship in the temple or the synagogues. If you were a shepherd, you most likely spent most of your days out in the fields with your flock and your best mate's flock, you all chillin' and hanging out watching sheep because no one else would. These
were the first people God chose to tell the good news of the Christmas story to. These outcasts of society. These 'unclean' men. (So if you think yourself an outcast or 'unlearn' or 'not good enough', guess what? God's got good news for you
) Not trumpets from the king's own orchestra. Not a royal announcer. Not even the king himself!! But these shepherds, who were watching there flocks that one silent night.
You might notice I left out the wise men, these men who were part of high society. I originally wasn't going to include them because they only came several weeks later. But I want to highlight a little something. These magi had been on the alert, watching signs and waiting patiently for the arrival of the Messiah. They knew what they were looking for and still sought after it despite the 400(0?) year 'drought', where there had been no further messages or instructions from God. Still they hoped. Still they searched. Still they believed. And because of their persistency and diligence, they saw what few others were able to see, with no doubts, the Saviour, Immanuel, 'God with us'.
Yes, there were people who weren't happy with the arrival or a new king. People who were scared of losing their own position of importance and power. And sadly, because of their fear, they were unable to see the great gift God sent to the world.
I guess what I'm trying to say is it's a shame that amongst all the busyness that Christmas has become, we may have forgotten the very heart of it.
But I hope we will learn to remember the story and keep our eyes open like the wise men. I hope that no matter our situation, we will still listen to God's good news for us like the shepherds. I hope that we will trust in the Lord that He has a good and amazing plan for us like Mary and Joseph. And I hope that we will be able to see past our fears (whatever they may be) to be able to see the greatest gift from God, like Kind Herod couldn't. I hope we will be able to see the true heart of Christmas and be able to have hope again
Merry Christmas to all.
Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth and goodwill to all men!
God bless you and thanks for reading ^_^