It is very funny to me how much the meaning of Christmas seems to change as we get older. I can remember it like it was yesterday, not being able to sleep, because I was so excited and restless in anticipation of Santa’s magical journey Christmas Eve to deliver everything on my wish list. Being an only child, I was blessed to not only have one, but three Christmases: one in the morning with my parents, one at my nana’s house around mid afternoon (being her only grandchild, I was especially spoiled by her), and one at my aunts house later that night with the rest of my extended family. I couldn’t help my excitement most Christmases, getting up at no later than 6 or 7am and bothering my mother until she would reluctantly get up around 7:30 so we could begin opening presents. But this Christmas, I went to bed around 12:30, woke up at 10, and there aren’t any presents under the tree. I have already received my presents from my parents before Christmas and my nana has since passed. It’s almost like the whole meaning of Christmas has changed for me, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized Christmas means much more than that. Because the meaning of Christmas isn’t rooted in receiving and giving presents or even spending time with family, though two activities I find a lot of happiness and joy in, Christmas is rooted in a celebration of a savior being born.

Now some people get caught up in the details of whether December 25 is the actual birth date of Jesus, but they are missing the point. Whether he was actually born today or not is irrelevant, today is the day we choose as a society to celebrate his birth, which is what we are called to focus on. However, when I was honest with myself, thinking about Jesus has never been much of a priority for me on Christmas. Like many of us, I focused all my energy on family and friends and giving or receiving gifts; very important things in my life, but somehow Jesus never seemed to make the cut. But we are celebrating his birthday aren’t we? How is he not the focal point? Now I mean like many other Christians I always made sure to go to church either Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but that’s just out of formality. Simply going to Church this Christmas without taking time to sit and truly speak and connect with Jesus is like going to a Birthday party without personally wishing the birthday boy a happy birthday. Jesus has allowed us into His house, much alike Church, to celebrate and be with Him for this special occasion. But instead of conversing and enjoying His company, we decide to focus our attention on everything else happening at the party EXCEPT Him. Sure, everyone enjoys the fun a birthday party brings: mingling with friends, party games and amazing food, but these things are never the focal point of the party. The focal point and reason for the party is to celebrate the birth of the birthday person, but for many of us Christmas has become more about the party and festivities than the reason we are celebrating in the first place. So this holiday, through whatever means you are most comfortable with: prayer, meditation, or simply reading the bible, take some time to be with Jesus. Because the most important and amazing gift you can receive this Christmas is not a new TV or car, but a restored hope and realization that we all can sit one day with the Lord our God in heaven because of the sacrifice of whom we celebrate today. And all He asks in return is that we allow Him into our hearts and take some time to be with Him. Don’t let the noise of everything around you, allow you to ignore the most important thing and focal point of this day, our savior Jesus Christ. He is let’s not forget, the reason for the season. Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy this beautiful day in which we celebrate the birth of our savior with your family and friends.

 

God Bless,

Joseph Cook