Okay, so What is The Real Meaning of Christmas?
In the previous blog on How to Give a Gift that Matters, I talked about how materialistically crazy Christmas has become. For many, especially children, the meaning of Christmas is simply how many good presents they get. But as we all know (hopefully), that's not the real meaning of Christmas.
As we get older, we realize that there's more to it than presents. Every now and then there will be a movie or news story on television about some truly generous giver. And with that, we are reminded of a better perspective on the holidays; that it is like Jesus said, "More blessed to give than to receive."
So then, the real meaning of Christmas is giving, right? Well actually, no.
For many, Christmas is either merry or depressing because of how many good presents they are able to give. And for some, because their financial situation makes it very difficult to give, they have come to hate the Christmas holidays because of all the giving. Whether your focus is on getting presents or on giving presents - either way, the true meaning of Christmas is NOT about the presents.
So, if the true meaning of Christmas is not about giving or receiving presents, then what?
Many Facebook and blog comments state that the most difficult part of Christmas for them was missing a person who was not with them anymore.
Amanda wrote: The best part of Christmas is being with my family. The worst part is not having my grandfather here anymore. He passed away in august of 2010, 3 weeks before my birthday. He always was the life of every family gathering, especially Christmas when he dressed up as Santa. Every year when he dressed up, I always had a picture taken with him...I'm only 22 and he's been my everything. It's hard knowing he's not here. He got me Santa figurines every year as a present. Now I buy one every year to remember him.
Tragedy will always help us recalibrate our values. It shakes us up and brings us back to reality. Those of you who are regular listeners to DM LIVE radio program or who follow us on Facebook, know about the tragedy in my family; that my son, Fulton, was seriously injured in a car accident and was in a coma. There was great uncertainty about if and when he would come out of the coma.
It's like the old Cat Stephens' song (way before your time) "You don't know what you've got till it's gone. "With my son Fulton's accident, I have been forced to stare this truth in the face. Yes, I'm just like the rest of you, and especially like those for whom tragedy (or near-tragedy) is a reminder to us of what is really important. Christmas is so much more than presents, receiving them or even giving them.
So then, the real meaning of Christmas is about the people in your life that you love - right?
As much as I feel the importance of loved ones at this moment (and will be reminded of it every Christmas for the rest of my life), no, that's not the real meaning of Christmas. There are people all over the world who love their friends and family, but who do not celebrate Christmas.
Okay, so what is the real meaning of Christmas?
I'm no Scrooge. Christmas is partly about giving and receiving gifts and it is about celebrating the family and friends in our lives. But the real meaning of Christmas is something even higher, bigger, and infinitely better than all of that.
Christmas is about totally pure, unconditional, irrepressible, inconceivably awesome, self-denying TRUE LOVE.
John was one of twelve disciples of Jesus, and he wrote the book in the Bible known as The Gospel of John. The word gospel means Good News.
John, Disciple of Jesus, wrote: 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)
I like what Michelle wrote on our Facebook page. I could easily understand how Christmas could be the worst time of the year for her. But she seems to have put it all together, realizing the importance of the people in her life, the real meaning of Christmas, and because of both of those things, the true joy of giving.
Michelle wrote: The hardest part of Christmas was losing my mom on December 26th to cancer. The Best part of Christmas is celebrating the true reason for the season - the birth of baby Jesus and the HOPE He brings to all. Another best part of Christmas for me is visiting the cancer center where my mom had treatments and giving a teddy bear to a cancer patient from Build-A-Bear workshop in honor and in memory of my mom. Bittersweet moment but well worth the tears :o)
Merry Christmas to you all!