2 minutes reading time (371 words)

Jesus Defines Christmas

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In a board room, a person defiantly states to the suits around the table that they should call their party a Christmas party instead of a Winter Gala. They should also give baskets to the homeless instead of spending money on food and drink because “giving defines Christmas.” The only problem with this movie scene, which I saw last night, is giving doesn’t define Christmas.

Don’t get me wrong! I’m all in favor of giving, especially to those in need! Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). It’s simply that Christmas is about much more than giving. Giving at Christmas historically is a recent phenomenon.

In colonial times, Christmas was a drunken affair. Think lots of wassail! The wild Christmas office party is heir to this tradition.

In the nineteenth century, there was a move to get away from this rowdiness by emphasizing family and gifts for children. In the early twentieth century, retailers saw the holiday as an opportunity to make money. They hyped giving as THE way to celebrate Christmas.

It now defines the holiday. I know Hindus in North Carolina who give Christmas gifts. As far away as mainland China, where most people are not Christian, Christmas decorations adorn city stores pushing Christmas gift giving. 

My Mom was a devout woman. When I was growing up, she always had a baby Jesus birthday cake for our Christmas dinner to remind us boys that Christmas was about more than presents. When I was a teenager, my younger brother Pete and I rebelled against this “babyish” tradition. It was only then that she told us the reason.

Mom had it right. The birth of Jesus defines Christmas. The Son of God is born to free us from the power of sin and death that enslaves and divides us. He comes into the world to reunite us with our heavenly Father and with one another. Jesus brings light, love, joy, peace, healing, hope and the Holy Spirit’s renewing power.

That’s what Christmas is all about. This is the true gift. It's for you and for all people. To receive it, all you need to do is accept him and seek to walk in His way.

Your Best Year Ever
You ARE Special
 

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