Have you ever given a thought to the true meaning of Christmas? No, I’m not talking about the cozy Hollywood version they like to show on the TV this time of the year.
“And it’s not like the stories, it’s never like what they said” (Ben Haenow – Second Hand Heart)
In truth, a version of this post has been sitting on my PC for a while now. I’ve been struggling to find the right combination of words for such a delicate matter. Christmas has become something that Christians and non-Christians celebrate. Its meaning diluted between Saint Nick, shopping and family bickering. Throw in the sickening dose of terror and world politics that has been dominating our News of late – is it really all that surprising that people feel more Depressed – especially this time of year?
Christmas is just no longer Christmas!
Christmas to many of us has become “wrong”. We may each have our own reason; why it does not feel like Christmas.
Truthfully, my Christmas stopped feeling like Christmas the year my parents got divorced – many moons ago. What once was the only night of the year; the family made an effort to cease-fire in the war-zone that was our home – was now a – fake it till you make it affair. I was a grumpy and depressed teenager – even more so at Christmas. The only thing that really got me into Christmas spirit was the smell of the Christmas tree, which brought with it its own aroma of what life should be. With time the tree got replaced with one less aromatic, as I took on the traditions of my husband.
Even Christmas changes
When you are rooted in your year after year traditions the loss of a loved one for example makes all things seem wrong for many Christmases to come. We like the comfort of the crazy routine. We resist change like a bad-smelling batch of eggnog.
The thing is – we cannot stop change. We cannot change the circle of life. Christmas will come around and we can either mope, because “it does not smell like” or “it does not feel like” or “insert your own does not… like” Christmas. The problem is that we have lost touch with the true meaning of Christmas.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. John 3: 16
This verse in the bible has become synonymous with the true meaning of Christmas. Let me break it down…. We got the word “Loved” up in there. No matter what the circumstance may be, I encourage you to wrap the gift of love. We reap what we sow. Plant the seed of love in the heart of your neighbor. Help the old woman cross the street. Give a tin of baked beans to the hungry. Hug a person who looks sad. Write an encouraging blog post. Sing a carol to the grumpy guy or gal and make them smile. Smile at the people you pass in the street. Forget about things being perfect.
What matters is the time spent with loved ones laughing and crying if need be.
Should you find yourself alone, remember the words “for God so” preceded the word “loved”. We are never truly alone.
Earlier this week my brother who lives in Europe, sent us a picture of him cooking dinner. This was not any kind of dinner. This was dinner for the flock of Syrian refugees they now have where he lives. For privacy reasons I can’t post the picture here. On it is my brother behind the stove – doing what he loves. Here are people who have lost everything. Their homes, their livelihood, loved ones and so much more – things we take for granted every day.
This Christmas take a look at all the wonderful things around you. Take a look at the people you are spending it with. Yes, there may be those missing gifts around the tree (which would have been for those now, no longer with us). But there are presents for the people you are spending it with.
I enjoy looking at the joy in my daughter and her cousins faces as they open their Christmas goodies. Beside children, some people are gifted at displaying happiness when opening presents. These are the things which make my heart smile. There are so many things to appreciate. I have a table with food to go sit at. There are people to hug. These are such wonderful things with which my life has been blessed.
This Christmas I encourage you to look for the beautiful things for which you can be grateful, whether you are Christian or not. If you can’t find any here are some you may have missed:
- You are able to gift a stranger with a smile
- You have cloths to wear and food to eat
- If you are reading this you are literate – which places you better off than a huge chunk of the human population
I could go on and on here, but really I want you to complete that list.
What are your plans for Christmas? What things can you add to that list?