Tis the season to be jolly or so the song goes. The Christmas season is upon us and well by the time you read this Christmas will either be here, or recently passed but my message is good for the whole year. There are a few points I would like to touch on today. First of all, if you’re taking a break, out of your holiday to read these words on Christmas day, I am grateful for the time you have given me.
Secondly, I would like to ask everyone to remember our soldiers today. Many of them are far from home, some of them will never return home. This can be a solemn time for many in the military. It’s never easy being away from home, away from loved one, especially in what is supposed to be a joyful time of year. We are no longer at a point in our culture where this day is sacred to most. If you have never heard of the Christmas ceasefire of World War 1, I encourage you to look it up. That was a moment of clarity in an environment of chaos. I ask that you remember and honor those who have to be away. There are many groups that you can work through, sending letters, gifts, basic needs, etc. It doesn’t need to be a holiday to make these men and women feels special. Get involved year-round.
Third, It’s not about the gifts. Sure, for most of us, giving gifts makes us feel good, and seeing the excitement and joy on children’s faces is enough to warm the coldest day; but all to often the gifts overshadow everything. This is a time of year laden with suicides, depression, fights and family calamities. All too often this is a result of either people spending more than they can afford or people feeling the pressure of not having enough money to buy the level of gifts and “joy” that they think they need to buy. People go into massive debts at this time of year, I know one man that takes a 401K loan each year to buy Christmas only to spend the rest of the year paying it back to do it all over again. What was once a holiday of joy and family is now one about gifts. This simply shouldn’t be.
Fourth on my list is family. As family has come into each of my points so far, it should be no mystery, that I consider this to be the most important point. Family is everything. My wife and my kids are the focus of my life and my holiday season. Family should be your top priority as well. To put it simply, nothing else should matter to you on this day or any other. Probably the most important thing to remember is that the meaning of Christmas is love. It doesn’t matter if you are Christian or not, if you believe Jesus is the reason for the season or not, the greatest commandment Christ ever gave us is to love one another. Which brings me to my last point.
Lastly, Jesus is not the reason for the season. Love is the reason for the season. Christ taught love, the apostles taught us love. So yes, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, but the meaning goes deeper. It is a celebration of God’s love for us, a love so deep that he came to earth in the flesh, humbly into a manger. Christ grew and began his ministry to teach us how to love. He gave examples of love and ultimately showed us the ultimate love. He died on the cross for us. God died for us. John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man this this, that a man lay down his life for his friends”
So, I submit to you that all this squabbling over Christmas is pointless and stupid. Christmas, regardless of race, religion, culture, thoughts, beliefs, and convictions; is about love. The spirit of love. So Merry Christmas to you all, don’t forget to love each other, and don’t forget to love God. In Christ I love you all and have a great Christmas.