what IS Christmas about?
Recently I read comments from others that having Christ in Christmas is too much to ask for. They look around and see nothing but greed, commercialism, hate, sorrow and more. Some have said that Santa is actually an anagram for Satan because the holiday we celebrate was actually once a pagan feast.
I read these comments and felt physically ill. Ill because on one hand, Satan IS in control...but it isn't as these people think. Satan today IS in control of the greed, the pain, the sorrow. Christmas, in reality, was a take-off of the pagan feast of Saturnalia. The early Church, feeling a need to convert people, took many of the facets of Saturnalia and tidied them up to bring people to God. Christmas is actually a derivative of the Mass held on the night of the winter solstice, known as Christ's Mass...Christmas! It was the Druids who later brought trees into the tradition, with it's candles and lights and decorations. Gift giving came from a true saint, Saint Nicholas, who brought gifts to poor families. Saint Francis of Assisi had the idea to re-create the Nativity scene and thus, the creche was born.
There are those who argue that Jesus was not born in winter, as the sheep were in the fields with their shepherds. There are people who argue that certain coffee shops have reindeer on their cups instead of actual scenes of the Nativity. There are people who argue...it seems...about anything that can be argued about.
Friend, if this is you, you are sadly missing the whole point.
Jesus came to us, a King, yes, but as a helpless babe first...so as to not shock the masses, I'm sure. Yet the masses were shocked anyway. King Herod, on hearing of the birth of a "King," sought to have him killed by killing off many other innocent babies as well. Such tyranny in what should have been the promise of Hope! A grown man, afraid of an Infant? Say it wasn't so!
But it was.
During the time of Jesus' ministry, all the while He healed many and performed other miracles, once again, He was a threat to the Establishment, who sought...again! to kill him off...and succeeded...by convincing all who would hear, that He was nothing more than a charlatan. And thus, an Innocent who was born to save us, instead, died for OUR sins of let's face it--ignorance. Basically, the same fear that caused King Herod to kill off all of the male babies also caused the Jewish people to also kill off Jesus--ignorance. Is it that same fear today that cause many to X out the reason for Christmas--Jesus-- by having celebrations that have nothing to do with Him at all? I do believe we are back at Square One! Pagan feasting that took what was a reverent idea and made it irreverent.
Ah yes, Christmas is almost here. And you, I'm sure, are busy making plans...but how have you made plans for Him?
Do you see Him in the homeless, the helpless, the hungry, the sick, the imprisoned, the persecuted? (Matthew 25:44) Or do you rather see Him in diamond rings, new cars, new techie gadgets, new...new...new...? The point I am making is that you cannot have Christmas without Christ. I know how much Madison Avenue wants you to believe that, but the seduction of distracting us from the real reason of Christmas by having anything you can buy is just not what this season is all about! Jesus came to show us pure, unconditional Love. His Love was so strong, He admonished us all to love one another, even as HE loved US! How much did He love us? Enough to die for us. ("Greater Love no man hath this, that one lay down his life for his friends..." John 15:13)
Honestly, how did you lay down your life for someone today? You don't have to step in front of a moving train to do it! You also do it by loving another so much you would do anything to seek out their better comfort level, and not just for a friend, but for a stranger as well.
We spend the holidays buying gifts for others, but truly, are you happy for the one you have bought a gift for? Or is it more compulsory...you HAVE to provide a gift for the office Christmas party for someone you just do not like, yet you do it...half-heartedly, hoping all the while they choke on it, am I right? You invite relatives to your house for Christmas dinner, all the while seething that they even are breathing in your presence. My, my, my...what a humble holiday we have going on here!
Christmas is about Love...it's about Hope that was born in a mangy, dirty stable. It's about the promise of Peace. To have any of these, we must Love one another even as Jesus loved us. We wish one another nothing but the best. The. Best. To do that, we put aside all manners of greed, of sorrow, of pain, of revenge, of hate. Love is the reason for the season. The Love of God who saw that humanity had lost it's mind and so, came down as a helpless babe, grew up in a society so full of hate (note the Roman empire, in control during his life) and sought to make it better by being an example for us all.
How can we do any less than to offer Him praise and being His example today--in a world that has never gotten it right, is still mad and out of control? We do it one day at a time, one person at a time...until there is so much love, so much joy...
When was Jesus born? He is born into the hearts of those who need Him- every. single. day.