What Christmas Is All About (To Me)

These last few days and weeks have been busy, as I am sure they have been for everyone. It always seems to me that people are rushed this time of year. There is much more traffic on the roads, especially around major shopping areas. We are frantically trying to find the right things, attend all the Christmas gatherings, find an ugly Christmas sweater, send out our Christmas cards, decorate our houses, and whatever else.

This year, all of the craziness has caused me to think about what Christmas is really all about. But for starters, here is what Christmas is not all about to me:

  • Black Friday - Does anyone really go Black Friday shopping to buy things to give to other people? Because it seems like all the ads these days are trying to tell you what you need for you. If someone is really giving their friends and family 50" TVs for Christmas, I might need to find some new family members.
  • Shopping - The email ads are really getting stupid crazy this year. Some days, I will get four emails from one company with the following subject lines (I don’t actually open them to see what they say): “One Day Sale Today!” “Our One Day Sale Continues Today!” “Hurry, Our One Day Sale Is Today Only!” “Just A Few Hours Left In Our One Day Sale!” Really? I had no idea.
  • Gift Giving - Yes, you heard me. It is nice to get gifts for Christmas. And it is nice to give gifts for Christmas. But if you are like me, you have plenty of stuff and nowhere to put new stuff. But the stores keep telling us that everyone wants something, and you should be giving someone something if you aren’t just buying it for yourself. Don’t worry, we will still give gifts to our family, but that still doesn’t make it the main thing of Christmas.
  • Decorating the house - We love to decorate our house for Christmas. Several trees, stockings hung by the fireplace, outside lights, and so on. But last year, we didn’t ever have time to put up our outside lights. Gasp! And this year, we still don’t have our upstairs tree finished. Double gasp! But that is all just fine. Because Christmas isn’t about decorating the house. Decorating is to remind us that it is Christmas. And to enjoy all the lights at night. We may use enough lights that our house glows from the inside, and that’s okay. But that’s not  what Christmas is all about.
  • Ugly Christmas Sweaters - Why is this even a thing? And why is just about any sweater that has something to do with Christmas considered an Ugly Christmas Sweater these days?

And that list could probably be longer, too. But those are just a few things off the top of my head. So what is Christmas all about? Here are my thoughts:

  • Jesus - Yes, the Bible doesn’t give any specifics on when Jesus was actually born. Tradition holds that it is this time of year, but no one knows for certain. But any holiday or anything else that causes people to focus more on Jesus is never a bad thing. And as Go Fish reminds us in their excellent CD “Snow,” Jesus’ birth was really just the beginning of the plan that led to his death for the salvation of the world. It’s about the cross.
  • Family - Christmas also means that we get to spend more time with those that we are close to. I love the extra time to spend with Laura and Jaylin. And our other family members, too. And by “family” here, I don’t necessarily mean those that you are blood-related to. We have friends who are at least as close as family to us, and we enjoy the time that we get to spend with them.

And that is pretty much it. Jesus and family. That is what Christmas means to me. There isn’t anything wrong with shopping, gift giving, office parties, Christmas movies, Christmas music, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or anything else of that sort. Doing those things is just fine, unless doing them is your only motivation for doing them. Remember why you are doing them. Slow down. Breathe. Enjoy it. Don’t let it rush you until you are so tired that you can’t actually enjoy Christmas.

After all, it is all about Jesus. At least, that’s what Christmas means to me.

manger scene