WHAT REALLY IS CHRISTMAS? (How To Celebrate Christmas)
Christmas is here again! Oh! How I love Christmas! Are you in the mood already? Is your Christmas tree up yet? Are the hampers packed? What’s more – the Carols, Santa coming to town, the shopping sprees, the chicken and the turkeys? I just love it! (Don’t hate me for this!)
But what really is Christmas? Have you bothered to ask yourself? What does it mean? Is it about the shopping, the fanfare and the glitz?
Christmas is celebrated worldwide on December 25 annually to commemorate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, it’s Jesus’ birthday! But was Jesus born on December 25, you may ask me? What does it matter? All that matters is that Jesus was born. And that is worth celebrating!
I will like to submit to you here, that the essence of Christmas is not in the shopping, neither is it in the hampers nor in the turkey and chicken dinners. For me I find it in the ‘first Christmas’ when wise men from the east came celebrating the birth of the baby Jesus. (See Matthew 1:18-25; 2:1-11)
“…There came wise men…to worship him.” There you see the real meaning of Christmas – WORSHIPPING JESUS! The ‘first Christmas’ was an occasion to worship Jesus – the Christ of Christmas.
What does it mean to worship? The word ‘worship’ means to “ascribe worth to something or someone”. Worship is ‘worth-ship’! We do not worship God except we ascribe worth to Him. And, how do ‘wise men’ do this?
Wise men worship by giving gifts! “And fell down, and worshipped him, and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” [Matthew 2:11]
What do I mean? Wise men worship (and celebrate Christmas) by giving gifts to Jesus.
Now, you need to understand that God is not in need. We are! He is the All-Sufficient One – EL-SHADDAI. This is the nature of God’s love – He loved us first! Any act of our love therefore is only a response to His love for us. Even when we didn’t deserve it He loved us. And when He LOVED us, He GAVE! (1 John 4:9-10, 19; Romans 5:8; John 3:16). And that is fundamental. Love always results in giving. Where no giving is, there is no commitment, no love!
God gave His only Son, Jesus, as a gift at Christmas (Isaiah 9:6). He was and still is a gift to the world. The spirit of Christmas therefore, is the spirit of giving, not the consumerism that we see on display today. THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS IS THE SPIRIT OF GIVING.
Wise men worship and celebrate Christmas by giving gifts – as it was at the ‘first Christmas’. Give a gift this season, that’s how to celebrate.
First, give your life back as a gift to God. (As if you own it in the first place!) “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your reasonable act of worship.” [Romans 12:1, NIV] If you’ve not given your life to Jesus, this is a good time to do so; and for the rest of us, a time to rededicate ourselves.
Secondly, this Christmas give your time and talents in serving in the church and in your community. Be a contributor, not a consumer. Jesus is a gift that still keeps on giving (Romans 8:32). And as He is, so are you (John 20:21). YOU’RE A GIFT TO THE WORLD! Your mandate is to bless your world (the society you live in.) This season, look around you, find a need and meet it. Be a blessing to someone in need. Put a smile on someone’s face.
And last but not least, open your treasure box and give out of your material and monetary resources. Your Service To God Without The Commitment Of Your Financial Resources Is A Mockery Of Your Dedication. Giving Your Money Is A Proof Of Giving Your Life. This season, I challenge you, give big. Instead of splurging on yourself alone, cut back a little; as you eat the turkey and exchange the gifts, remember the kingdom of God. What will be your investment – your own gift to the King of kings?
This way you would have caught on to the true meaning of Christmas. And you would know that your life really counts for something. Do have a merry Christmas and a blessed 2012 in Jesus’ name.
Related post: The Christ of Christmas