What a year it has been. We’ve seen both the good, the bad and the ugly. But what is the meaning of the holiday season and how should we conduct ourselves in a society who’s given up on hope?
I remember waking up early Christmas morning with a stocking filled with candy, oranges, peanuts and one gift. As a family, we didn’t celebrate Santa Clause or pretend he existed. I was okay with that.
Growing up in a Christian home my parents explained, early on when my sisters and I were growing up, that Christmas was about Jesus. I knew while enjoying the candy and opening my stocking gift that something truly special was about to happen in our family.
Each Christmas, no matter where we spent the holiday, we read the Christmas story out of the Gospel of Luke 2. For many years my Grandpa Parker read the passage from the family Bible, but now my father reads the story. It’s a nice passing of the torch since he’s now a grandpa.
But through all the family traditions and the turkey and all the fixings, why do we even celebrate Christmas? What’s the point of it all?
I want to unpack seven truths of the Christmas season.
1. It’s not about you.
Like I mentioned above, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly this year. Here are some of the year’s highlights.
- We have a new president.
- We’ve seen cities hurting because of riots.
- We’ve seen a polarization in political parties.
- We’ve seen people stand up for justice and peace.
- We’ve seen our churches give to local families in need. (My church gave several hundred pounds of food to our local food shelf.)
- We’ve seen Facebook stories of people who are in need and helped by a kind and giving hand.
Christmas isn’t about what you want. It’s not about the gifts. It’s simply about giving out of kindness and generosity to those who need their spirit’s lifted.
When we take the time to give out of ourselves to those around us, we are extending the greatest gift we can give, love.
2. Forget about family.
I know some might email me for this one, but hear me out. Like above, Christmas isn’t about your family. We may enjoy the time we spend and the memories we shar–but when it comes down to one fundamental truth–this time of the year isn’t about just spending time with your family.
We all have different backgrounds. Some love their families, but others dread the holiday season because they have to get along with Uncle Joe. But maybe December is the perfect time to begin communicating with estranged family members.
When we begin fretting about what to or not expect, we do ourselves and our family a disservice. Use this time to not think about what has happened, but what doors you can open this year. Use this time to turn a new leaf and move forward despite what the past is.
In all, a family is to be treasured, we’re stuck with them. And maybe this is your opportunity to share the love that Christ has to offer by our actions. Remember family is a verb, not a noun.
3. Remember the less fortunate.
This one is similar to the first, but I wanted to take a moment to say it again. We live in the greatest nation on earth–and are blessed to be here. Yet, all around us, there are people who will not have a warm bed or meal to have this Christmas season.
We have a unique gift to give unto those who are less fortunate this holiday season. It’s the giving out of our resources and bounty to those in need that will show what Christmas is all about.
Here are some ideas:
- Give to a local food shelf.
- Find a “Feed my Starving Children” and pack food bags for children in another country.
- Take a ham to a neighbor you know is struggling to make ends meet.
- Give a gift card to the man on the street, asking for help.
In other words, do something to bless those in need out of how you’ve been blessed.
4. It’s about Peace.
Peace has been talked about for years. In the 60’s they called for peace during wartime. In World War 2 soldiers held up two fingers signifying peace and victory to fellow men.
In a season where riots and civil unrest are happening all around us, there’s something we all pray and hope for, peace. People are looking for it, praying for it but few find it in their lives.
This Christmas season we can find true and lasting peace. It doesn’t come from outside sources. It doesn’t come from someone offering a helping hand. Peace, true peace, comes from the One–Jesus Christ–who can offer it to our wayward hearts.
We can have peace, but it comes from a deep understanding that we don’t fully get it. A true peace surpasses all understanding and guards our hearts and minds. This is the peace God has to offer us. All we have to do is accept it and open this amazing gift.
5. Darwin had it wrong.
You may wonder, ‘what does this have to do with Christmas?’ Darwin was a scientist who taught the survival of the fittest.
Think back to your Christmas shopping. Everyone wanted that one last item on the shelf. I saw people fighting over items and saw people get into a near fist fight over something silly at the checkout lanes. It truly was like watching a bunch of monkeys acting silly than humans caring about someone else.
I was having a difficult time finding a gift for my father. Upon asking someone, who had the same gift in their cart, where it was, they gave me the item and said, “Merry Christmas.”
This is why Darwin had it wrong. Humanity and evolution aren’t about survival of the fittest, it’s about cooperation and altruism.
6. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
When we break it all down. Christmas is about expressing faith in something greater than ourselves. Even the whole Santa Claus phase children experience is about faith that something good will happen to those who simply believe.
When my family reads the Christmas story this year, we’ll be affirming our faith in Jesus. Faith is increased by hearing the Word of God. When we listen closely to the truths of the Bible, we’ll find that Christmas is more than giving gifts or even helping the less fortunate.
Christmas is about Jesus and the hope he brings through faith in him.
There are so many more truths, but this one is certain–Christmas is about Jesus and him coming to give us life. Nothing else matters in life. Nothing gives assurance of hope and love that can be shared than the gift God gave us in his son Jesus.
Don’t despair and don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring. Think on the good things of God and the peace they bring to our soul.
I’m excited about Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday season. But one thing remains, my faith is firmly rooted in Christ and I know that this truth will last the test of time.
Question: What one thing will you do to show hope to someone this Christmas? Leave a comment by clicking here!