Last week, I became frustrated by the never-ending “war on Christmas” posts I saw on my Facebook feed, and I wrote a long blog post about why I think the whole war on Christmas thing is a joke. However, I realized that my blog post was more of an angry rant than any kind of constructive conversation-starter, so I decided to scrap it. Maybe one day, I’ll re-work it and share it with you guys. But not right now. Because Christmas isn’t about angry rants, even if some people’s Facebook feeds may suggest otherwise.
When I decided not to post my war on Christmas article, I started thinking about how I could recognize Christmas on my website in a more reverent, meaningful way. And then I realized that a lot of my frustration stemmed from the fact that my understanding of what Christmas means may be a lot different from what other people’s understandings of Christmas. So I decided to write up a blog post about what Christmas means to me, not to tell anyone else that they’re wrong, but to articulate exactly how I view the holiday and why it means so much to me.
Honestly, I’ve had to do a lot of thinking recently about what Christmas really does mean to me. I used to take it for granted. Growing up, I didn’t really consider what Christmas was or what it meant. But this year, I’ve been doing some real thinking on the subject for a lot of different reasons. I think Christmas has different, deeper significance to me this year than in the past, and I’m happy about that. Here’s what Christmas means to me.
1. Christmas means a change of pace.
No matter what walk of life one is in, Christmas means taking a break for most people. Whether it’s taking a vacation from school or getting a few days off work, Christmas is a time to relax, sleep in, and spend some time for yourself. This drastic change of pace shows just how big of a deal Christmas is. It’s very rare that most everyone in society takes a sort of Sabbath together to recognize an event. That’s huge, and it’s something worth truly thinking about. How can we use this change of pace not only for our own wellbeing but also to commemorate the holiday more meaningfully? I think that’s something we should consider.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to recognize those who don’t get to enjoy a change of pace on Christmas day. Doctors, military personnel, and thousands of other workers don’t get Christmas off, and I thank them for what they do. The reality of life is that the world still has needs even on holidays, and we would be in a really tough spot if those people all decided to take a day off. So if you’re one of those people working instead of resting on Christmas, thank you, and I hope you get to celebrate the holiday in your own unique way.
2. Christmas means time with family.
This is one aspect of Christmas that I’ve always agreed with in my mind, but I’ve never really thought about it or tried to be intentional about it until now. Living far away from my family and not being able to see them as often as I would like has given me a much deeper appreciation of the precious time that I have with them. And Christmas is an especially special day that I’m very grateful to get to spend with my family. Christmas reminds me of how important it is to be there for the little things that in the long run turn out to be big moments, like when Aiden sees his Christmas presents for the first time or when the family gets together to watch Elf. There’s just something extra-special about being with family this time of year, and I hope each of you gets to experience that this Christmas.
3. Christmas means celebrating the birth of Christ.
And of course, we can’t forget the whole basis of the Christmas holiday. This is actually an aspect of Christmas that I’ve downplayed in previous years, and I think we all have a tendency to do so. We can get so caught up in the gift-shopping and busyness and fighting against the “war on Christmas” that we forget to simply contemplate the magnitude of what Christ did for us on the first Christmas day. God came to earth as a baby. He chose to live a full human life just like we do so that we could have a relationship with him. He could have come to earth as an adult. He could have just not come at all. But the God of the universe, the savior of the world, came to earth in the form of a baby two thousand years ago. And that blows my mind. I’m choosing to spend some time this Christmas season thinking about that and thanking God for it, and I hope that you will, too.
So that’s where I’m at this Christmas. I know that Christmas means something different to everyone, but no matter where you’re at this Christmas or what it means to you, I hope that you have a blessed holiday with people you love. May you feel warm and loved this Christmas, and may the God who came to dwell among us fill your life with peace, if even just for a day. God bless, and merry Christmas.