For a long time I've had a dismissive attitude towards Christmas. I looked at Santa Claus and Rudolf with one eyebrow raised, and dismissed trees and presents as pleasant traditions of another culture--probably a result of the diverse opinions of Christmas that many people I knew had. Some said it had pagan origins and wasn't really a Christian festival at all. Some said that being a Christian meant you accepted the celebration of Christmas with all its trimmings. Some said that it wasn't accurate, Jesus wasn't born on 25th December and so if you wanted to celebrate Christmas you should do it somewhere in the middle of the year (or so I think I remember.) Some said that Christmas was all very well but it had evolved into a primarily cultural festival rather than merely religious, and so for Asian/Chinese Christians it was different. We don't even have snow here, for goodness' sake; Santa would get heatstroke.
I still don't feel any obligation to go and buy a Christmas tree (fun as that would be) just because I'm a Christian; but this year, I've changed my opinion of Christmas considerably.
All right, Christmas isn't Jesus' real birthday, had pagan origins, isn't my culture, has morphed into hyped-up consumerism.
Even with all that in consideration, grasp the fact that--
the world is celebrating the birth of your Favourite Person.
The world, which has rejected, despised, and not believed in Him, is actually celebrating--regardless of how--that Jesus Christ, a.k.a the love of your life, ie. the wow-factor of your existence, came to this world.
What more me?
I don't think we have to all celebrate Christmas in specific or similar ways. But as Christians, regardless of our background, we should value Christ. And Christmas should at the very least be an occasion for us to meditate on the Gift that we were given; to realize anew how precious it is.
Because we so easily forget. Because we so easily take it for granted, become complacent. Because we can never value it enough.
Christmas: celebrating the best and most undeserved Gift of all.
Not the presents under the tree or in the stocking; or Santa, that benevolent philanthropist.
I found this in my spiritual journal--it wasn't written during Christmas, but it pretty much reflects what I hope Christmas would mean to me--this year, every year, always.
To turn my thoughts to Christ.
To grow my love for Him.
To humble me with joy and thankfulness for what I have received.
Where have You been all my life? To think I knew about You, but didn't know You--worse still didn't love You--is an awful thought.
For all my life I have not appreciated Your sacrifice for me enough, probably never will. But now, slowly, I am realizing just how much You mean to me. Now, slowly, I am loving You. Now, slowly, You are real to me, from vague Bible character to a real presence like a human friend's, to more than a mere human friend could ever be.
Now, slowly, I am realizing that You are beautiful, that You are the penultimate expression, the essence, the best of God's love for us.
I hope to know You better, to love You more, to feel the reality of Your death for me and Your love for me as poignantly as I should. To be transformed by it--heart, soul, and life.
I am not worth dying for, but You are.
a small voice
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