Christmas season is a time for giving, not getting. Many of us expect and hope to receive gifts during this holiday; however, giving to others is more fulfilling. Acts 20:35 supports this thought where it says, "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive."
This particular holiday season begins just as soon as October comes rolling around. In most retail stores you will see signs of Santa Claus, ornaments, trees, and all sorts of decorations out there, right alongside the ghosts and goblins of Halloween, together with the pumpkins, turkeys, and hay bails brought out for Thanksgiving.
So much commercialism from various forms of the media, such as television, books, magazines, and circulars from retail stores tempt us into opening up our wallets to spend out tons of money that we really don't have (unless of course, you've saved up for it). What you don't see however, are a lot of nativity scenes, or Christian reminders of what this joyful holiday should stand for.
It's not all about Santa! Or the tree, or the decorations, or receiving and giving presents (although it is nice to receive a present or two). It's just that it seems to be all that is emphasized during this time, and; unfortunately, the story many of us give our children when they are small, is the one according to the jolly ole Santa Claus, his reindeer, his elves, and how they make presents from his residence at the North Pole. Sometimes as a side note, we also tell them the true meaning of the Christ child who was born and came to earth as our Messiah.
Generally in this country (US), during this particular holiday, or the days leading up to it, the number one question someone may ask your child is, "What would you like Santa Claus to bring you this Christmas?" Many of us (Christians included); and I have been guilty of this as well, have taken our children to visit Santa Claus in the stores to voice their gift requests to him. And they truly believe he will give them what they ask for!
We continue to perpetuate false belief in in this made-up, old man to our children each year as the holidays roll around, by buying into this nonsense and not realizing it is all a fantasy created by Satan himself to skew our minds and hearts of what this holiday is really all about.
I realize that not every Christian believer does this, or allows his/her family to be drawn into this type of deception; however, we must be diligent in explaining to our children the true meaning of Christmas and celebrate it together in the right way as a family unit.
Throughout history you will find this holiday to be originally derived from various pagan cultures and traditions. There are many writings and documentations from old historical facts that conclude this to be so.
According to TheHistoryOfChristmas.com, "Many of our holiday traditions started out with the Mesopotamians in their celebration of New Years. They believed in many gods; their main god was Marduk. Their festivals and traditions were in honor of him. The Persians and Babylonians celebrated Sacaea, an exchanging of places and roles of slaves/masters. Then there were the early Europeans who believed in evil spirits, witches, ghosts, and trolls. Their celebrations were for the Winter Solstice to welcome back the sun. Scandinavians held traditional bonfires, celebrations, and festivals to commemorate Yuletide in bringing back the sun. The ancients Greeks held festivals to honor their god, Kronos, who would battle the god, Zeus and his Titans. Moreover, the Romans celebrated their god, Saturn, in which they honored him through Saturnalia (middle of December and ended January 1st). In so doing, they had festivals and masquerade parades throughout the streets; ate big meals; decked their halls with garland; had trees and lite candles; visited family and friends; and exchanged 'lucky fruits'. As the Romans were having fun, the Christians felt it to be an abomination to honor the pagan god. The early Christians wanted to keep the birthday of their Christ child a solemn and religious holiday, not one of cheer and merriment as was the pagan holiday, Saturnalia. As Christianity spread throughout, forbidding this kind of celebration, it was decided to become tamed down and made into a celebration fit for the Christian Son Of God."
According to Wikipedia.com, "The month and the date of Jesus' birth are unknown, but by the early-to-mid fourth century the Western Christian Church had placed Christmas on December 25th. Most Christians celebrate it according to the Gregorian calendar, adopted almost universally in the civil calendars used in countries throughout the world. However, some Eastern Christian Churches celebrate this holiday on December 25th of the old Julian calendar, which corresponds to January 7th of the Gregorian calendar, the day after the Western Christian Church celebrates the Epiphany."
All throughout the years we have adopted and taken on for ourselves and our families various bits and pieces of tradition and celebration in attempting to demonstrate a time of happiness, joy, peace, and good will to all. Many of these traditions and celebrations for this holiday include some of the following:
Your most precious gift; more precious than you could ever receive on this earth, is that of salvation and from the One and Only Living God who provided it. The Christ child, who grew into a man; who was and is both human and divine, came to earth to die for our sins. Three days later He arose from the grave. He took your sins and mine upon the cross so that we may live with Him eternally in Heaven.
John 3:16-17 gives us this blessed account, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
As a free gift, God gave us Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord, so how could we possibly take "Christ" out of Christmas when we celebrate this wonderful holiday?!
1 John 2:2 says that "He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world." You see, He IS our ultimate gift of love and sacrifice. No other gift alone could ever measure up to that! Here's what the Bible says about how God gives to us and how His gifts and benefits are significant in our lives:
In your times of meditation and prayer, allow the peace, joy, and love of Christ to permeate throughout your mind, soul, and body. As you reach out to others in sharing the Good News, let them know of this free gift from God, which is His Son, who came to save them of their sins.
Also, give your family the real story of Christmas by telling them the truth of it all, not the lies that Satan would have them to believe. Don't start off with the lie about Santa Claus coming to town, and then realize you have to tell them the truth later on about the true meaning of Christmas.
I was guilty of this in the past as well. Unfortunately I told my daughter this same fictitious story about Santa when she was very little. Her dad and I kept this going for a few years until we felt she could handle the truth: the fact that he and I were actually buying her gifts and acting as "Santa Claus". The poor kid was completely devastated that there was not a real Santa Claus! Although we did give her the real Christmas story, she was totally confused as to what the truth actually was for quite a while. She still expected the jolly ole guy to show up for Christmas, filling her stockings and leaving presents under the tree. Although she forgave us, it was a cruel thing to do. We should have just been honest and clear with her in the first place, telling her the true story of JESUS, and that the meaning of celebrating Christmas originated from His birth.
So, what is the true Christmas story? The account the Bible gives is the following:
The proclamation of Jesus's coming was foretold way before His birth as we see here in Isaiah 7:14, where it says, "Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."
Then again in Isaiah 9:2,6, and 7 it goes on to say, "The people that walked in darkness hath seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince Of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Furthermore, more details are given in Matthew 1:18-25, where it says, "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, 'Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary, thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.' Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 'Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,' which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not til she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS."
In conclusion, let this Christmas season be one of great joy for you and your family, and that you may consider this great and wonderful gift, who is our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Instead of expecting to get something, strive to give even more! Your heart will be truly blessed when you give to others, not just to those who do not have things in life as you may have; but by giving to them spiritually, by pointing them to Jesus Christ. After all, He is the ultimate gift from God; He is our truest treasure.
Have a very Merry Christmas!