What is the Real Meaning of Christmas?

It’s Christmas, isn’t it?

A lot of people this year have been asking, and sharing, their family’s holiday traditions.  I’m not a big holiday fan, and I don’t really see my family as having traditions.  Each holiday, each Christmas, has been different, unique.  We have no traditions because no two years are the same.  And I think I’m okay with that.

I remember when I was a kid, Christmas was so exciting.  We would put up lights and tree and my brother and I would decorate it.  There would be gifts under the tree for a week or more and I would always try to figure out what I got before the fateful day when I would actually get to unwrap my gifts.  I don’t think I ever made a Christmas list, and I don’t remember ever believing in Santa, but Christmas was purely about gifts as a child.  I think it’s like that for most children.

Most Christmases people would come over for Christmas dinner, which was basically identical to Thanksgiving dinner, and we would eat and be happy.  After dinner I usually retreated to my room and played with my new toys or whatever.  I guess I’ve always been an introvert.

When I was about eight or nine my family started opening all our gifts on Christmas Eve so that we didn’t have to get up early.  Before then we would only open one or two on the Eve and open the rest Christmas morning.  One year I got a bike, but my dad hid it under a tarp in the back of his truck, whereas the gift I unwrapped was a dirty old shoe that I had stick my hand in to go on a scavenger hunt.  I think that was my most exciting Christmas.

The last few years my family basically stopped doing Christmas.  I want to say it was when I left for college, but in reality it was probably my junior or senior year of high school.  This year my brother asked if I just wanted to do our own gift exchange with him, since my parents probably wouldn’t want to participate.  He got my an awesome sweater and a new camera case/backpack.  That was nice.

Other than that, Christmas isn’t really joyful for me, it’s just something that I endure.  I like giving gifts a lot more than getting them, because it’s exciting for me to give someone something that need or really want.  My quad did a secret santa this year, and apparently I’m a good gift giver.  That was nice to hear.  I’m rambling a bit now, sorry.

Really though, what is the meaning of Christmas?  I know that it’s celebrating Jesus’ birth, but I wonder if even He did that.  Did the people in the Bible celebrate birthdays?  Or when did that start?  It’s weird to think about.  In reality Jesus was probably born in the spring, but December would be cold and nearly unbearable for most people if Christmas wasn’t now, so I’m okay with it.  Christmas gets us through the year.  But why?  Is it about the gifts?  If it is, then it just shows how selfish and consumeristic the Christmas celebrating culture is.  Or is it about family?  For me it isn’t really, because my family, although all in the same house, have hardly spoken all day and are all doing separate things.  I’ve been bored all day.  I don’t know what Christmas really is about.  I like celebrating Jesus’ birth.  I like thanking Him for his life and death for humanity, but that is something that I do year round.  I am fully grateful for the life I have because He gave it to me.  Is Christmas about the Jesus story?  Yeah, probably, but I think it’s more than that.  I think Christmas is about others.  Giving to others of your time, your presence, and your story.  People deserve to hear the Jesus story, and what better time than now?  What better way than through you?  Maybe I’ll spend next year figuring Christmas out, and make it the best one ever.

Sorry for the rambling.

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