I had to write the opening letter for our MOPS newsletter and I figured it would be good to post here on this poor neglected lonely blog. Don’t get too excited though, who knows when the urge will strike me again. I feel like I’ve lost my writing “mojo” that I had before that compelled me to write (errr, type) but whatever it was, I hope I find it again!
How many of us say “Merry Christmas” without stopping to think about what that phrase really means? I tried to google it online and came up with many different originations, definitions, and insinuations about the phrase. Some even crediting Ebeneezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” with coming up with the phrase.
When I say “Merry Christmas” I’m acknowledging that I know this holiday is to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Somehow over the last hundred years or so, the focus has shifted to that of a very commercialized holiday all about the latest gifts and gadgets and how the most expensive gift portrays one persons love for another. This year I feel a personal conviction to get back to what Christmas is really about. We told our three boys the story about the birth of Jesus and how this season, this time of year, this particular day, is set aside to celebrate that. We told them that our family focus was shifting to honor Christ at Christmas and not focus on the tradition of gift giving. We will still be participating in gift giving, but not on such an enormous level as years past. Before, it was our focus. Now, it’s a side bar. When they realized they wouldn’t be getting the mountain of toys there were used to, they cried. That right there sealed the deal in our eyes. We had done a poor job of explaining to them what Christmas was really about. Now, we take every opportunity to explain the story of Jesus’ birth and why we give gifts in memory of Him, in honor of Him. Jesus was the ultimate gift to us from God our Father. Such a pure and perfect gift, one that we didn’t know we needed or wanted. How much do you think God celebrated in knowing our reaction when we realized what a perfect gift Christ was for us? Possibly the same way you react when you see the joy on your childs face Christmas morning when they open up a special gift. To know that God delights in us even more-so amazes me. I cannot fathom it.
We give gifts because of God’s love for us, it’s a way for us to share that love on a tangible level. When you have that driving force behind everything you do at Christmas, it changes the way you give, it changes what you give, it changes everything about the tradition of “gift giving” at this time of year.
I’m happy to say that now my two oldest boys are telling ME the true meaning of Christmas. I hope this seals this in their hearts so they are always thankful for the birth of Jesus, and not just the presents they get this time of year.
This Christmas season, take time personally and as a family to examine what Christmas means to you, what the birth of Christ has meant in your life, and how you can make a difference not only at Christmas but always because of God’s great Gift to us.