Christmas is about love, laughter, and making memories with family and friends. As I think back to my childhood I remember only a few special gifts that I received, but I remember vividly the experiences that I shared with my family. I remember playing hide and seek and my little brother, and getting stuck in the corner under the Christmas tree. I remember the year that my sister and I both received birth stone rings that were hidden on the tree – it took us forever to find them. I remember sitting on my daddy’s lap as he read us books about Christmas, and each year reading the Christmas story from Luke 2. I remember my mom’s beautiful handwriting on the tag of each and every gift. I remember visiting grandparents and playing with cousins. I remember Christmas plays and songs at church. I remember driving all over town looking at the sparkling lights. I remember taking gifts to a sweet neighbor lady. I remember specific details and special moments, not all of the “things” that I received. The older I get the more important all of those memories become, and the more memories I want to create with my own children.
As christians we say that Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus. We feel that if we read Luke 2, make a special cake, and sing Happy Birthday to Jesus that we’ve fulfilled our christian Christmas duties. While these are all wonderful things to do and Christmas is definitely a time to reflect on the birth of Jesus, it’s not what Christmas is truly about – at least not in the current condition of our society. I understand that saying that out loud sounds terrible, but I think it’s true. We think we’re doing best for our kids by shopping nonstop and spending ridiculous amounts of money to buy them tons of things they will hardly use or remember getting. What are we really teaching them? What if we have a rough year and can’t afford to buy lots of gifts on Christmas? Have we trained our children to have certain expectations? Would they be devastated if they didn’t have a ton of gifts under the tree? We say Christmas is about Jesus, but is that what we really show? The Bible doesn’t say anything about celebrating the birth of Jesus, but the scriptures state over and over again the idea of loving and helping others. We tell our children that we give gifts to each other as a representation of the wonderful gift of Jesus that God gave us. This is true, but I think God wants us to take it further. I want to create Christmas memories with my children that inspire them to help others all year-long. I want them to understand that Christmas isn’t just about getting, but about giving. It’s about showing the love of God and sharing the gift of Jesus with everyone they meet. We are unbelievably blessed. We have everything we need, almost everything we want, family, friends, and an amazing church. We have a God on whom we can totally rely, and the promise of salvation. Yet, there are hurting needy people all around us. Maybe they need food, a utility bill paid, maybe a hug, or a simple smile, but we know one thing for sure – they need us to be Jesus to them.
We should give gifts to our family and friends at Christmas. We should go to parties and spend evenings snuggled up in our jammies watching Christmas movies. We should let our children stay up late and eat more junk food than we would normally allow. We should create unforgettable moments that will last our lifetime through. I sincerely think that if Jesus were here in His earthly body, that His Christmas would be all about helping others. Technically He is here – in us. We have the wonderful opportunity to reflect His image to those around us, not just at Christmas, but everyday. Christmas is about family, friends, and memories. I challenge you to create experiences this holiday season that not only make lasting memories for you and your family, but for other people as well. Give a meal, hug a neck, help unload some groceries….Whatever you do, do it in the name of Jesus as a way to truly remember Him this Christmas.