To most children, Christmas is all about the presents. The anticipation of wondering what could be in that mysteriously shaped box. The excitement of tearing into the wrapping paper only to find the thing we’ve wanted for as long as we can remember (which was usually only a couple of weeks). My favorite Christmas as a child was getting a Super Nintendo and the original Street Fighter II.
Presents are always a good thing, but not the ultimate thing.
In our 20’s when we’re a little wiser, our view of Christmas grows a little. It becomes about spending Christmas with the right people. Finding that special someone or group of friends to spend the holidays with. Maybe even doing gifts a little differently as you try to be the person who gives out the coolest and most memorable gift.
Friends and loved ones are always a good thing, but not the ultimate thing.
For some, Christmas is about traditions, decorations, and expensive electric bills because of an insane number of lights.
Good things, but not the ultimate thing.
When we’re beyond our 20’s we start to believe Christmas is all about being with family, enjoying food, and oh yeah, presents too, I guess. We know how short life is and we want to cherish each moment we have with our tribe.
Time with family is always a good thing, but not the ultimate thing.
While each of these things are good, none of them are the ultimate reason for Christmas.
The ultimate thing of Christmas, is Jesus.
Let’s be clear:
I don’t mean shout MERRY CHRISTMAS until you’re blue in the face or pretend that the “war on Christmas” is anything other than retail companies attempting to make more of a profit by using language that will widen its client base. That’s not Christmas and it definitely isn’t Jesus.
I don’t even mean cute little 6 lb. 8 oz. baby Jesus lying in a manger with 3 wise men and 3 shepherds all huddled around. Historically, we don’t know how many wise men there were (and they likely showed up 2 months to 2 years later), how many shepherds, or even if there were animals there. So that familiar story isn’t Christmas either.
Jesus is the ultimate gift of Christmas because he is God moving into the neighborhood to restore relationships between us and Him.
To begin to restore a broken world and ruined relationships, God enters the human story as one of us.
God didn’t UPS salvation and restoration.
Instead, God hand delivered it to us.
Here’s the lens I would love for us to look at Christmas through.
God gave and that’s why we give.
Christmas time, to me, at it’s deepest level is when we give gifts (good things) because God gave us the gift of His son, salvation, and new life (ultimate thing).
Christmas time is about spending time with those we love (good things) because Jesus spent time loving on those he was around and would give everything for them, even death on a cross (ultimate thing).
THIS is the ultimate meaning of Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you and may every gift you give, ever moment you share, and every bite of food you take be a reflection of that ultimate fift.