I remember the first song I ever wrote. I was seven years old. It was called “Christmas is Jesus’ Birthday”. It had five lyrics to it, and three of them were repeated, but I was so proud of it. We even sang it a few times at my old church’s Christmas program. This is how it went:
Christmas is Jesus’ birthday,
Christmas is Jesus’ birthday,
Everyone gets presents!
Christmas is Jesus’ birthday!
Even though I held fast to the idea that Christmas was partially about me getting gratification from cozy sweaters, walkie talkies, easy bake ovens and a new bike (that I NEVER got!) I was still taught the true significance of Christmas and why it was so important to me as a young Christian.
Starting last Thursday, Thanksgiving, my nephew began asking me if it was December 1st yet. He asked me again Friday, and again on Saturday and I kept telling him no. Finally, on Saturday, I asked him why did he want it to be December 1st so badly? He told me because he wanted his Christmas presents! I explained to him that he would have to wait until the 25th and that he understood, he just knew though that if it was December that we were getting close. He’s too funny and he’s only six so I understand. He knows what Christmas is celebrating, but he has yet to understand it.
When did Christmas stop being about Christ and only about getting awesome gifts? I know for as long as I have been on this earth Christmas has been connected with getting presents. I remember, when I was my nephew’s age, coming back to school after the Winter Break and we all talked about what we got for Christmas… but very rarely did we discuss how great sunrise service was or how great we did in the Christmas program at church… I’m sure if I surveyed 100 random strangers and I asked them what they thought when they heard the word “Christmas” I would hear things like snow, Christmas trees, presents, candy canes, but very few would say “the celebration of the birth of Jesus”. Now, I know the actual date Jesus was born is debated and probably isn’t in December, but it’s a day to celebrate it so everyone needs to get over that!! I think that there are other opportunities during the year to celebrate our family and friends. I wonder what it would be like if we as a human race focused totally on the truly AWESOME gift God gave us when He sent Jesus, and the gift Jesus gave being willing to come to save us from sin and despair? If we allowed Jesus to fill the hole in our hearts, we wouldn’t even care about the things we seek after to give us joy and fulfillment in the form of material gain. Jesus is what we need. At the top of our Christmas list it should say “Jesus all the days of my life”. I know that’s what I want and what I NEED!
I wonder how people would look at me (especially the kids in my family) if I just stopped giving Christmas presents? Would they understand what I am doing, and WHY I’m doing it? I’m sure everyone would think I converted… lol. But are Christmas presents really necessary when that has nothing to REALLY do with what Christmas represents? Now, I know of the pagan connection to this holiday, but I am focused on the Christian celebration so get your mind right (lol).
I don’t think that my loved ones are ready for me to be anti-Christmas presents (I don’t want to be called Scrooge!), also because I enjoy getting gifts, but I think things need to change. I love to see the look on my family and loved ones faces when they are unwrapping a gift I gave them. I understand that companies look forward to this time every year to bring them out of the red and into the black and it is extremely financially beneficial for retailers as well as non-profits. For my own job, this time of year is literally the meat and potatoes of the year!
I’m very happy this time of year encourages people to do things for others and be charitable, but there are needy people out there ALL YEAR LONG! Don’t just wait until the holidays to show compassion to people in your community, and you can show love to your family all year round. And just as you do that, remember everyday that the birth of Jesus has affected us all and brought us to a place of grace. Without His birth, it would have never happened. JESUS’ BIRTH CHANGED MY LIFE!! And spend more TIME focusing on what Christmas really is rather than MONEY on what society wants you to believe what Christmas is all about.