Christmas being a few days away, I have confronted myself with the question of what Christmas means to me. Really, if we didn’t celebrate Christmas at home this year, it wouldn’t affect me much at all. I might not even notice it. But I still consider myself as a someone who celebrates Christmas. What on earth does that mean?
First of all, lets consider the cons:
1. It’s a festival of pagan origins. It supposedly originally honored Saturn, the Roman god of agriculture.
2. Jesus was not born on Christmas day. Even if He was, there is also the danger of glorifying the day not the savior.
3. Santa Claus, need I say more?
4. Beer drinking and alcohol driven gatherings which may result in mass confusion and violence.
Okay, so now Christmas looks quite grim. But wait, did I say I DO celebrate it? Yup, that’s right. I do.
And for very practical reasons, too:
1. Christmas is a time for people to think about Christ
Among all the hedonistic mass consumerism reflected by gaudy, glamorous and riotous parties decorated in seas of red, green, gold and silver, filled with meaningless “Merry X’mas”s and pointless gift exchanges under the name of Santa Claus, children fearing the non-existent naughty/nice list, longing for elf-made toys and trinkets to be neglected and forgotten by the following year…
…you can make out the humble and lowly stable that where Jesus lay, wrapped in swaddling clothes, taking his first breath towards Calvary where his blood atoned for all mankind.
Though many don’t give any care to God or church, they can’t help but think about it. And while many adamantly don’t believe in Jesus, this is the time of year where they cannot really avoid thinking about him. And no matter how negative, any opportunity to think about Jesus should not be discouraged. Not to mention, some people only go to church once a year, usually at Christmas. This is a great opportunity!
It’s a long stretch, but remember, the good shepherd left 99 (in the care of God) to find the 1 that was lost. If Christmas can reach just 1 in the history of mankind, it’s worth it.
2. Christmas is a time when many humans become a little bit more humane
Charities, gifts, cards, well-wishes. It would be great if it was done all year long, but better once then never at all. The spirit of giving is not a negative one. It’s definitely a positive one. Why hinder it?
3. Christmas is a time of gathering of families
Birthdays, weddings, christenings are rather centered on 1 particular individual or couple. I’m not against them, but they are rather self-centered. Christmas, on the other hand, is completely selfless. Apart from the showing off cool gifts and lavish dinners, the nature of the gathering does not celebrate one member of the family.
Instead it promotes the getting along of family members. We do try to put our differences aside to have a good time. Sure, it doesn’t always work, but still. It’s like the Asian Chinese New Year, except there’s a lot more respect of elders and tradition in that one.
God intended the family unit to function, so really, promoting unity is good.
4. Christmas services provide an opportunity to serve
It gives people at church who don’t normally serve/sing to do a special item and get involved in the Christmas service. This is definitely an encouragement to them and the rest of the church. You can use art lovers for decorations, tailors for costumes, new people in the choir, etc.
For me, celebrating Christmas means I emphasize the birth of Christ, I can use carols to glorify God without sounding out of place, and I make an effort to actually go to family/friendly gatherings. While there are numerous wrong reasons to celebrate Christmas, one right reason is all I need. And I have 4!
So have a lovely Christmas my dear readers, and God bless you!