Christmas: (Christ’s Mass) 1. An annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, widely observed and celebrated around the world on December 25th.
“Now thanks be to God for His precious, indescribable, inexpressible, free gift. A gift too wonderful for words.” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
I went into the City of Geelong today and saw that the Christmas decorations are up in the streets; the big red, velvet covered chair is set up ready for parents to drag willing (and unwilling) kids up on Santa’s knee for the obligatory annual Christmas photo and the carols are being played throughout the shops. So this is Christmas.
I love Christmas. From the moment the tree goes up in our home on December 1st to the moment the last present is opened, I love the Christmas season. I love singing Christmas carols. I love getting presents. I love watching Carols by Candlelight on TV. I love being woken early by our kids (who are old enough to sleep in on Christmas morning but still wake up when it’s dark)! I love giving presents. I love time with family and friends. I love the celebration. I love the joy. I love receiving presents! I love the decorations. I love the food. There’s not much about Christmas that I don’t love.
Except one thing.
Actually, it’s not just the commercialization of Christmas that I hate. It’s the fact that so many people celebrate Christmas and they have no idea why! Too many people make such a big deal about the buying and exchanging of presents without any thought behind the reason for the season. Society on the whole has forgotten the very reason why we have a holiday and an annual commemoration on the 25th of December every year!
And then there’s the email I just received and the reason why I had to share my thoughts on Christmas today.
“Dear Nicki, as you know, it’s Kris Kringle season again. However, it doesn’t have to be as lame as it was last year. You can get great gifts in an instant, and look like a total genius. Just jump onto companynamewithheld.com.au and when you choose your present remember IT’S THE LACK OF THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.”
What? Did I read that correctly? Whatever happened to the saying: “it’s the thought that counts” when giving a gift? What has the world come to?
Yes, it’s actually what the world has come to!
The problem is, many people don’t give any thought to why they give a gift. They just give a gift because it’s Christmas and that’s what you do.
Perhaps a breakdown of the word might help. Hm…yes, “Christ”mas.
This year, more than ever I’m going to do whatever I can to put Christ back into Christmas and when choosing a gift here’s what I’ll be thinking about:
- The gift I give will be a symbolic gesture of remembering the gifts that were given to Jesus on the occasion of His birth by the Wise Men (and no, there were not Three Wise Men, contrary to what we sing!).
- The gift I give will be a symbolic gesture of the love and care that I have for the person to whom I am giving the gift.
- The gift I give will be a symbolic gesture of my thanks to God for the gift of Jesus’ birth and it will be a reflection of the gift God has given to me. And also to you.
This year I won’t be making a list. Nor will I be checking it twice. I won’t be cutting out pictures from junk mail catalogs. I won’t be dropping hints. I won’t suggest you just “give me a gift card so I can choose something for myself”. I won’t be returning the gift after Christmas and exchanging it for something I really want. I won’t be waiting for the Boxing Day sales to use all the money and gift cards I got for Christmas. I won’t be disappointed if I receive something I’ve already got. Or don’t need.
So…if you were planning on giving me a gift this Christmas, please make sure you put some thought into it! If you can’t put some thought into the real reason for the season, then please, don’t bother buying me a present!! Because, in my opinion, it is the thought that counts.
“For today (my) Saviour was born in the city of David. He is the Messiah. He is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)
And He is the greatest gift of all.
Think about it.