The Meaning of Christmas - What Gives True Meaning to What Christmas is All About.
Christmas and its meaning - Why does it matter?
The question has been asked, "What is the true meaning of Christmas?" Christmas clearly means many different things to many different people. To others, it may mean nothing at all. In an effort to really look deeply and the question though, and look way back in time to its core, is there any real meaning to be taken from Christmas? I think there is. This hub is to share what I think the meaning of Christmas is, and why I think its so important. More than that, I want to share why it may still be very important today.
Please let me share first, that I am more than fully aware that so many have differing views than myself, and I totally respect that. I just want to answer the question because I think its a good one and our families are so often very tied to this particular holiday.
When did the idea of Christmas really begin?
Going back to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem long ago, is when Christmas began. He is the Christ we are celebrating, and if I may, I want to go back even further than that. Jesus as Messiah, I believe was prophecied about long ago. Long enough that people who studied the prophecies and the stars both, knew to be watching for him. Contrary to many a nativity scene, we know they did not arrive when Jesus was still a baby, but a toddler. Traveling long distances doesn't come quickly back in those days.
So I think Isaiah got it right, and actually those prophecies aren't always so pretty either. Its not just about angels singing of the joy of his birth, but many of the prophecies speak of his death as well and how awful it would be. While many will disagree with me, I have yet to see anyone offer up a better answer for who these prophecies speak of. I have seen people offer Hezekiah for example, but in keeping with the oldest and most accurate to the word copied manuscripts we have, I have still not seen a person that has lived fit the description better.
So, there we are with a baby Jesus. Everything about him, even from before he was born, was touched with miracles and things that were just very unlikely. I think it all looks just as it would if its all true. It makes sense to me that God would want extraordinary events and miraculous happenings to occur so that skeptics would no longer be skeptical or at least not have that as reason to reject. Isn't that what people are always asking for, a miracle? We see that with Jesus.
So between the prophecies and John 1, which speaks of a person from before the beginning of time (The Word? Who is that speaking of that was with God and was God?), I think the idea and existence of Jesus and thus the meaning of Christmas goes way back. Going on from there, I look at the word itself, Christmas. There is no denying that there are many Catholic things interwoven throughout, and I don't have any problem with that. I am in fact very thankful to the Catholics for helping to protect and preserve so much of what has come down to us throughout history. I myself am not a Catholic, but I respect them very much even though I disagree on some core beliefs. I am a Protestant Christian and follow the very basic teachings of Jesus. I am not aligned with any denomination for instance though I am sure there are some still that are very similar to my own beliefs.
So we see that out of Christ Jesus came Christmas, and out of the teachings of Jesus are included many things. St. Nicholas and many other historical figures come into play here. I love all the history surrounding Christmas and all the traditions. Even the ones that many say are so pagan based, I think are fun and wonderful and don't detract at all from the overall meaning for myself and my family.
Other things to enjoy and love at Christmas
One of the other traditions I love is the Christmas tree. There is nothing quite like a Norway Spruce to make Christmas all the more special! We no longer use real trees for Christmas, though the smell of real trees is a true joy. I also love hanging stockings at Christmas, and decorating with lights, and baking cookies. There really is no Christmas tradition that my family and I don't love.
Its a lot of fun to drive around and see the beautiful lights at Christmas. Many know of local areas near where they live, that really go all out for the light decorations. If you ever move, its great to ask about such places and visit them and enjoy the season together.
All the good food and baking, the drinking of warm drinks and sending and receiving of cards, are a very special part of celebrating the meaning of Christmas. Often on Christmas Eve we will also go to a candlelight service that isn't too long, but just enough to refocus and remember what it is all about. If the deeper meaning of Christmas as I understand it is true, then it makes all the difference in the world for us, everyday. Its a hope and a blessing. Something to share with those we love and many more we don't even necessarily know.
**One last note, that its a joy to see people come together for greater causes at Christmas. Often this is done because they are just nice people that want to give to their communities. I think that is wonderful. Some want to share and show the love that they themselves have been shown in life. There are others that have had a rough road dealt to them in life, and they just give because they know its a good thing and that there are others that are hurting.
I am very thankful for Christmas, and all the happy memories and cherished and even the few sad ones over the years. I am thankful for the meaning of Christmas and always will be. If the message was true back then, long long ago, then it still has meaning today as much of what was taught has everything to do with our lives now and in the future as well.