People all over the world will be celebrating Christmas this month. As they do, they will follow their cultural traditions, but nearly all of them will gather together with family and friends to enjoy the day.
The question is, which Christmas will they celebrate?
Santa Claus has found his way into children’s hearts all over the globe. It is an age-old tale, and it repeats itself year after year after year. I can remember, when I was around 5 years old, being at my grandparent’s house one Christmas Eve. I wanted to stay up with Grandpa and help him give Santa the cookies and milk we had set out for him. But my mom was determined I would go to sleep. So she talked to me and cajoled me into closing my eyes. As I finally did begin to nod off, she asked me if I could hear the sleigh bells jingling. She said Santa could not land his sleigh on the rooftop if I was not asleep. Before all was said and done, I could actually hear those sleigh bells. I was a true believer in Santa that night.
Most of us have stories such as this. Stories and memories transcend cultures and traditions around the world. Children are the same, after all, when it comes to Christmas. Visions of colorful trees and treats, and presents to open, are common, in nearly every country. The commercialism of Christmas knows no borders. It has infiltrated nearly every society. It is a boon to a nation’s economy, and it is fun and good for families to share that time together. It is a holiday, not a holy day, to many across the world.
The other Christmas, the one that centers on the Christ Child, is the Christmas that Christians will celebrate. They may mix some of the commercialism in with it, but the focus of their Christmas will be the Child. Christians will take time to remember the Christmas Story, and that story will be told over and over again during the Christmas season. Christmas movies will be viewed, and passages of scripture will be read, sharing the special event that brought a King to live among us. This Christmas is a holy day, not a holiday.
We must remember that Christmas means different things to different people. If their religion is other than Christian, then they will have secular traditions for celebration. But if their religion is Christianity, they will follow that Star in their own heart, and relive the story of Jesus’ birth, which is the real reason for the season.
Christmas should be a time of love, giving, and worship of the one true King, Jesus. His birth is enough reason to have wonderful joy. As Christians, we must be ready and willing to tell the story, to share the Gospel, the Good News, with the rest of the world. For He is the Gift that keeps giving!
‘…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins.’ Matthew 1:20-21 (NIV)