Why do we celebrate Christmas?
Not just a story, it's about gifts.

Why do we celebrate Christmas? Why all the cheer, the fuss, the holiday spirit?

To find out the true meaning of Christmas, we must learn the Christmas story.

But first, let's find out what Christmas is not.

Don't be like Scrooge.

The Charles Dickens' story, A Christmas Carol, set in 19th century England, starts out with Scrooge as a greedy old miser. He begrudged the time the Christmas holiday took away from his business. He couldn't stand it when others where happy. He couldn't understand why the others were having a happy jolly time. He didn't have the spirit at all. But he eventually learned his lesson, and repented.

So why was everyone else so happy in the first place?

What is Christmas for, anyway?

The real purpose of Christmas is not for businesses to hold clearance, pay the bills, balance the books, and start the year with new inventory.

And it's not about us getting lots of stuff and tons of sales, last minute shopping deals. It's not to get off school and work. Or get a bonus. Get lots of presents and gifts. Have parties. Take a break.

Put up the tree and lights, decorate, and sing songs of cheer in the dark, long, cold days of Winter (for us in the Northern Hemisphere.)

But the way the world goes, you'd think this is the case.

Actually, that all this celebration happens at all is because of what really happened 2000 years ago.

We celebrate Christmas because Jesus came as a Gift!

2000 years ago, a child was born who changed history. He came from Heaven as a gift from his Father to us. And he brought us many gifts.

  • Where there was no hope, He brought deliverance.
  • Where there was darkness, He brought light.
  • Where there was sin, He brought salvation.
  • Where there was confusion and war, He brought peace.
  • Where there was hatred, He brought true solid love.
  • And anyone can approach Him, because He came as a baby. His mother is Mary, and His foster father guardian is Joseph.

That's why we put up lights and decorate the tree. Put up a manger scene, a star and angel on the tree, because it's all in the Christmas story. That's why we celebrate on Christmas and during the 12 days after, and not before, with a party, because it's a birthday party. And that's why we get gifts at Christmas.

The Joy of Giving Helps Us Celebrate Christmas

Receiving gifts is fine, but giving is better. The right kind of giving at Christmas can give us great joy.

  • Giving our best to God, preparing spiritually for His Birthday
  • Giving to the less fortunate, and teaching our children the same
  • Giving small gifts to our children, explaining why we share gifts.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

What is the Christmas Story?

In 2 places in the Bible we find the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The first is in the first 2 chapters of Matthew, who tells much of the story of Joseph and the child Jesus, giving the account of 4 dreams that helped him be the protector of the child and saving him from death. There is also an account of wise men led by a star, how they offered him gifts, how the evil tyrant King Herod hated and wanted him killed, and how Joseph took the child and his mother and fled to Egypt, until it was safe again.

The second is Luke, also in the first 2 chapters. We find out much more about Mary and her relatives, how the angel appeared to her, how Mary carried Jesus through the work of God, because she had no relations with a man, how she visited her cousin Elizabeth, how they ended up going from Nazareth to Bethlehem because of a Roman census, how they found no room in the inn, so Jesus was born in a manger in a shelter for animals, how an angel told shepherds the good news, the angels sang, (that's why we sing Christmas Carols), and how the shepherds came and visited and , her cousin, the angels singing, the shepherds, how they went from Nazareth to Bethlehem, etc.

I highly encourage you to take out your bible and slowly read a little bit every day, and think on this wonderful story.

Put that wonderful imagination of yours to work, and you will see that the first Christmas was not easy, pretty or fun. It was a hard and difficult time with stealing and killings and all sorts of evil and injustice everywhere.

Let's learn how to have compassion on the less fortunate, and appreciate the sacrifice of other people. We always have to keep making efforts to get out of ourselves and think of others, and Christmas is a great time to do it. It's a great time to start imitating the heroes in the bible, and start giving more of ourselves in service to God, to our families, to our duties, and to others. And we will find a joy and peace and energy we won't have otherwise.

The Importance of Preparation for Christmas

It is not proper to celebrate the birthday of a child before he is born. So while all the world celebrates before with office parties, for us we prepare quietly, not in the mad holiday rush that starts with Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving).

It is a time of spiritual reflection and quiet preparation, called the season of Advent, about 4 weeks before Christmas. Advent means Coming, we wait with prayers and longing for the coming of Jesus into our hearts and at the end of the world, in memory of his first coming on earth.

There is a peace and expectation, a hope and joy, a real spiritual fulfillment, that others simply cannot understand who are too busy and too selfish for such blessings.

The emptiness of Greed

I've seen some people glad when Christmas is over, they can't wait to pitch out the tree. All the holiday cheer and song, all the food and drink, all the gifts and presents, do not satisfy our hearts and souls.

You see, our bodies need good food to stay healthy and do its job well. Our hearts and souls and minds are much more important, without these we have no life. They need the best spiritual food we can find, else they are not healthy and we will lead ourselves to destruction. Jesus came down from heaven and was born as a baby to grow up and teach us the way, and then die and rise again to prove that he is a divine teacher, all this to give us life, and all this to then show us how to feed our hearts and souls and minds with his food, with truth, and light, and grace to know the way and follow it.

Accept the Christmas Gift, and Thank Your Stars!

We have been given a precious Gift. Just like it would be rude to not thank someone who gives us a Christmas gift, it would be a shame not to accept and appreciate the Gift of God.

So here's some ideas to celebrate our biggest Christmas Gift ever:

  • Gratefully accept this Precious Gift into your heart, and mind, and soul, and body.
  • Congratulate the parents of the newborn baby - Joseph, Mary, and the Heavenly Father - and thank them for helping bring this wonderful gift of theirs into the rest of the world and especially into our own lives.
  • Appreciate and cherish this Precious Gift always, every day, every moment.
  • Be thankful always.
  • Thank your stars!

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