It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, the word conjures up different images for all.
Decorated trees in reds and gold, purples and blues.
Carols, midnight church services, and hot chocolate.
Mistletoe, poinsettias and holly.
These are just a few things that spring to mind when you think ‘Christmas’. Yet those things – as fun, jolly, beautiful, festive as they are – do not represent the true meaning of the historical Christmas.
The word Christmas is derived from two words in the old English language- Christ/mass. Simply put –
Christ’s Mass, hence the word Christmas.
There is speculation that the actual word Christmas is not necessarily so pleasant to be going around and wishing others merriment toward. You can visit www.lasttrumpetministries.org/tracts/tract4.html for quite a different take on this holiday.
Some won’t/don’t celebrate Christmas for religious/personal reasons. Me? Here’s my story.
When I was little, Santa came to our house every Christmas Eve, that is until we figured out it was Grandpa. It was quite devastating, but because I was enamored with my grandpa, I got over it.
Gifts were opened first thing Christmas morning, most likely the only day of the year that as children, we didn’t get in trouble for waking mom and dad early (not that they ever slept late!). We were left to play while mom basted the turkey and dad watched football.
As I grew, it became more of wondering if those I gave gifts to would not only be surprised, but would they like the gift I chose. Then I got married and my husbands family did things very differently. There was the opening of Christmas stockings, followed with a breakfast spread consisting of Creamy Eggs, bacon, homemade cinnamon rolls set upon beautiful china plates and fresh orange juice poured into crystal glasses.
We would then gather in the living room for the reading of the Christmas story. Afterward, the last Advent candle for the season would be lit and its meaning explained. Then the children and their grandfather would pass out gifts, and we would open them one at a time.
Dinner was served about two o’clock, followed by the care of swollen bellies and the scrubbing of used dinner plates, followed by the preparation for a snack for the evening, usually consisting of salads, sandwiches and cookies.
Christmas was festive, but for me began much earlier. Decorations, baking, wrapping – it all begins before Thanksgiving. Christmas is my favorite holiday because people seem happier (until you accidentally cut them off in traffic). They think about others more than they do the rest of the year (or so it seems). They smile and say, “Merry Christmas” much more frequently than they say, “Have a nice day” (or so it seems).
I think it’s because the
spirit of Christmas comes upon them. That spirit that covers you with a love for others that can sometimes hide throughout the rest of the year. That spirit that takes over and makes you want to give to others when the rest of the year you give only to yourself.
Christmas is so much more than that. It’s bigger than Santa and his reindeer. Bigger than a tree adorned with shiny ornaments. It’s bigger than any gift under the tree, even if it may be a Red Rider BB Gun.
It’s about a King who left his very comfortable throne to come here, to this earth, and walk among us as a friend, as a teacher, as God. He came as a baby and died as Redeemer for all mankind. He played no favorites. He gave the same precious gift to one and all – life anew. Like all gifts, it was given to its rightful owner. However, some refuse to accept it and others took the box but never have opened it and it sits on the shelf of their heart, wrapped and gathering dust.
For me this is Christmas. Handing others the gift that waits for them under the tree of heaven – the gift of life. A little baby brought the good news of life for all mankind over two thousand years ago and many rejected his gift. Still he gives and waits. And Christmas continues.
Will you think about that gift that seems to have been left unopened for a while and try it out? It would look mighty fine on you and I’m pretty sure it will fit – just right.