As I sit here thinking about the upcoming Christmas season, I remember other Christmas seasons that have passed in my long life.
I remember all our family gathering at Gramps’ and Grams’ house. All the uncles and aunts, my parents and, of course, Gramps and Grams would gather around the tree. The lovely colored lights on the trees and bushes outside, the holly tree with the red berries, the gifts under the tree — a lot of them for me! I also remember the cookies, the punch…Oh so many lovely things to remember. And always, our family celebrated Christmas as the time of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Time passed, and there came the Christmas when my dad was in Germany, serving in the U. S. Army. He didn’t forget his little girl, and the gifts he sent were very special. The best Christmas present for me, however, was that God was keeping him safe during the war.
More time passed. My husband and I were now the parents ourselves, and we were teaching our own children that Christmas weren’t just about gifts; but that the best gift of all was the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.
More years passed and the grandchildren were the ones getting the gifts and being taught about the birth of Jesus. Then came the sadness of losing my Mother, just after Christmas; and then the loss of my best friend on this earth — my husband, just before the very next Christmas; then sseven years later, the sadness included the loss of my youngest son, also just before Christmas…
As a result, I found I was no longer looking at Christmas as a special day anymore…nor was I giving much thought to the birth of my Saviour. To me, the season had become one of sadness and loss.
One day, as I was thinking — again — about my losses and dreading the return of another Christmas, a voice inside said to me: “It isn’t about you”. Just those 4 words! But suddenly I knew my attitude about the Christmas season needed to change. Christmas isn’t about me, Christmas isn’t about us, and it never was. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given…” (Is. 9:6a NKJV). True we don’t know when he was born, but we do know He was born in Bethlehem, in a manger, with Holy Angles surrounding Him and telling the world of His birth. The Shepherds came to visit and later the Magi and…well, you know the story, and if you don’t, I invite you to read it inMatthew 1 andLuke 1-2…
That day I became much more fully aware of the real reason we should celebrate Christmas: It is the day that God sent his Son to earth to live a sinless life; to be ill-used and finally hung on that awful cross; to die, for me and you. That is the real Joy of Christmas.
And so, friends, as this next Christmas season arrives and you find that the joy of the season is absent, as I used to, just remember: “It isn’t about you!” Rather, it’s about rejoicing and celebrating the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. What better gift can we receive — or share with others — than Salvation and the love of our Heavenly Father through the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ.