Shopping takes on a whole new look at this time of year with Christmas decorations, cakes, nuts, mince pies, hams, turkeys and shortbreads all filling the shelves of our supermarkets. The streets and stores are pleasantly serenading us with carols while the television, and the magazines that fill our letterboxes are encouraging us to purchase things we may never have heard of, but are convincing us they are things our loved ones cannot live without.
But with all the busyness, noise and complaints, we really love the atmosphere and the anticipation that Christmas engenders. The redecoration of our homes, and the transfer of our time and affection to the needs and desires of others, up-lifts us and is what creates in us “the Christmas spirit”.
The parallels might seem hard to find when we compare how different that first Christmas would have looked 2000 plus years ago; a child born in a stable, in humble circumstances and yet . . . there were angels singing, a bright and shining star and gifts fit for a king. The original meaning of Christmas may have become somewhat lost in the artificial glitz and glitter, but the underlying principle still survives.
We all know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ coming as God incarnate in human form. But how do we apply that to our Christmas celebration.
The business sector may gauge the success of Christmas on how many billion dollars are spent through retail outlets however, the true meaning of Christmas as defined in: The American magazine, vol. 28 (1889):
Is “to give up one’s very self”
“To think only of others”
And to consider “how to bring the greatest happiness to others.”
Jesus lived out these three points in his life, death and resurrection. This is in contrast to messages we receive through the media -“You deserve it”; “The most important person is you”; Treat yourself “because you’re worth it”.
This is a time of goodwill, inclusiveness and an opportunity for us to emulate the life of Jesus and put Christ back into Christmas.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and safe and restful New Year.
Love and Blessings