We tend to celebrate Christmas as a day to give presents to our loved ones. In this deteriorating economy, it might be wise to hold back on the insane spending sprees of gifts that seem to mark an occasion to give one another presents that are costly. We, as a society, often forget the true meaning of Christmas, which is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Many religious groups gather and hold sermons ans sing praise to the Lord. Do they truly mean what they say? Are they going through the motions to make themselves feel better? I wonder. Christ’s birthday, while we are not really sure of the exact day, should be celebrated for him and not for gift giving that makes no sense. We are so wrapped up in giving presents to others, which is a meaningful experience to some and not so meaningful to others, that we forget the true experience of the holiday.
We all know the story of Jesus’s birth in a manger and the wise men who followed the star. We all know the story of Joseph and Mary and thier quest to find safe haven for thier forthcoming child. But do we really appreciate what they went through to have this birth come forth for us? When Mary was given the child by the Holy Spirit, how do you think Joseph felt? His first response was to hide her, lest he be shamed. An anggel came to him and told him this child was from God. Can you imagine the faith it took to believe?
When King Herod heard of this, he gathered all his cohorts and demanded to know where the child was born. They told him, according to prophecy, that the place would be Bethlehem. Herod sent the wise men who followed the star to find the birthplace of Jesus. They were supposed to bring him back to Herod. When they saw the baby, they fell down and worshipped him. They were warned by God in a dream not to return the child to Herod, for he would kill him. When Herod found out the wise men did not follow his orders, he went to Bethlehem and killed all the children two years and younger. Herod finally died and an angel told Joseph that it was safe and that he should go to Israel. Joseph was afraid and instead went to Nazareth.
It is hard for us to imagine the terror and hardships that Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus went through in those days. Would you have had the faith to believe in angels? Would you have gone through all this to preserve a child just for faith? I wonder. We should celebrate what it took for this miracle to happen. We shouls celebrate thier courage and conviction. Instead, we sqaunder our hard earned money on ridiculous gifts that usually are not thought of as a way of honoring the birth of Jesus.
I am not telling you that Christmas trees and lights and gift giving are wrong. I am just asking you to think about what the day of Christ’s birth really means to us. It is fine to gather together as families and friends and have special meals and enjoy the day, especially for the children, but remember what this day truly means to us as a society.