I’m still not very Christmassy….but this past weekend Skywalker put up the tree. I blasted a Christmas playlist from the computer. We hosted a dinner with my cousins and while sharing Christmas memories, I was reminded that Christmas shouldn’t be something one participates in once a year. All the sentiments of being compassionate and giving and generous and joyful and loving at this time of year should be lived out year round. So true. A great challenge to end off this year and start the next with.
While my cousins, who are not religious, see this season as an extra reason for family to come together and express love through gifts and meals, I cannot deny I deeply feel there is more to Christmas than a time for family and love. The obvious Sunday School answer is that Christmas is when the greatest gift of love was given to us in Jesus Christ….but what does that really mean?? My mind fails me in trying to pull thoughts together into something coherent…but I’m seeing these pieces:
- Per Darrell Johnson (paraphrased into my understanding)- The Christmas Story with the incarnation of Christ as a human baby is wonderful, but incomplete without His life and ministry. His life and ministry is incomplete with His death on a cross as substitute for humankind’s sin. His death is incomplete without His resurrection. His resurrection is incomplete without His sending us the Holy Spirit, marking us with His seal, giving eternal Life. And this eternal life is incomplete without His second return…bringing a new heaven and new earth. All of that has to be considered with Christmas and first coming of Christ.
- A fair number of Christian Christmas carols are sung in a minor key…have you noticed? (We Three Kings, O Come O Come Emmanuel, etc) I’ve noticed the minor keys but never thought too much about it until @revtedng pointed out that as much as we rejoice that God is now with us, the celebration cannot be separated from the reason of why He must come in the first place — to die in our place.
- God, Almighty Creator who spoke the universe into existence, One who put time into motion, who sustains all life, lit the stars, knows each hair on my head….chose to be so humbly restricted as to come to earth as a baby, unable to control his own hands or body, utterly dependent on an unwed teenage mother, facing hunger, pain, rejection, loneliness, betrayal, weariness…so that He could one day die an excrutiating death.
- And to come for a people who would mostly reject Him and kill Him. Even today.
- But His coming…and death and resurrection…means that sin and death no longer have victory over us if we don’t want it to. It means there is hope! There is peace between us and God….which leads to peace between one another. If we choose it. It means we GET to choose. And how we value choice! Why would I not choose to accept such a gift?
It boils down to God extending His love. Great costly love. So I DO choose to accept this incredible gift. I will keep choosing this. And I think that is why I celebrate…and need to keep celebrating through the year. To pay it forward as a grateful recipient of such a Gift. Hmmm…the thoughts are still stewing.
Why do you celebrate Christmas? What does Christmas mean to you?