With all of the Christmas shows, commercials, and songs about how Christmas is “supposed to be,” it is so easy to forget about the true meaning of Christmas. We are told that Christmas means spending time together as a family, enjoying a big Christmas dinner, decorating a Christmas tree, and enjoying all of the Christmas parties that we can attend.
But for those who work in retail (including my husband), this is the busiest time of year, when they are treated the worst by irritated and frustrated customers, forced to work extra long hours without seeing their families, and urged by greedy corporations to push services or products that help us make Christmas the way it’s “supposed to be.”
For those whose loved ones are dedicated to preserving our freedom, it is a time of year when they miss their soldier the most, especially when they see other families gathering together to unwrap gifts and gorge themselves on Christmas turkey. It is a time when those courageous soldiers don’t get a chance to rest but continue to fight to give us the opportunity to celebrate Christmas the way it’s “supposed to be.”
For anyone who has lost someone close to them, it is a time of year when the loss is felt the most, when memories come back the most vividly of Christmases past when they shared them together. It’s a time to remember the way that Christmas was “supposed to be.”
For those without a home, it is a time of year to feel the cold all the way through to their soul, wishing to find some warm shelter instead of worried about hanging decorations on a Christmas tree. It’s a time to remember the way that they once celebrated Christmas and to mourn the way that it was “supposed to be.”
At this time of year, it is so easy to become busy with Christmas preparations. But do you think this is the way that Christ said it was “supposed to be”? Even our best efforts must look so hideous to Him! When did we decide that Christmas was “supposed to be” about presents, feasting, and partying? When did we stop realizing that Christmas is about love, grace, mercy, and sacrifice?
I can’t even imagine heaven and how glorious it will be! Revelations 22:1-5 gives this description of heaven: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. 4 They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.” Heaven sounds like a glorious place, so why would Jesus want to leave His throne on High to be born as a baby in a lowly manger? He wasn’t even born to a princess or made prince over all the land! The only reason I can think that Jesus would sacrifice in this way is because He loves me!
Not only did He humble Himself to become mere man, but He also endured temptation, cursing, ridicule, and abuse by some of His own family members and “friends”! Why would He do that unless He loved me? I John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.”
All of this to sacrifice His body on the cross for my sins so that I could one day join Him in heaven! Jesus said in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am.” He could keep all of those riches and the glories of heaven for Himself, but He graciously longs to share them with me!
So how do you think Christmas was “supposed to be?” Are we supposed to be shoving and pushing each other in line at the department store to get that much-desired present? Are we supposed to over-indulge at the holiday feast? Are we supposed to go in debt purchasing Christmas decorations?
Or are we supposed to show the same love, grace, and mercy that Christ showed to us?
I know you’re in the middle of your busy season, but take a minute to evaluate your holiday. Is your focus on the Christ child, who grew to be the Man who died on the cross for our sins? Or is your focus on all of the activities that are occupying your every waking hour? What does Christmas mean to you?