With Christmas less than a month away, it’s no surprise we’re all starting to get stressed. There’s so much to think about, organise and do. Even more important is the decisions that need to be made – your family or mine? Her house or the park? Lunch or dinner?
As Christians we have another important thing to think about – what Christmas truly means. But in the midst of this, I think we’ve forgotten that it’s ok to enjoy the non-religious part of Christmas too.
What Christmas is about
Christmas is the time we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We marvel that He was born in a manger with only His earthly parents and some farm animals present. We take joy in the angels that God sent to sing over his birth. We are grateful to the shepherds and the wise men for coming and worshipping him.
Christmas is definitely about Christ. While we celebrate parts of his life or ministry during the rest of the year, Christmas is the one time with celebrate with overwhelming joy.
It’s also a time when we can connect with non-Christians and tell our story. Children might only hear the story of Jesus’ birth at this time of year. Adults are reminded to be grateful for what they have and to let go of old grudges and enjoy their time with their family.
But is there more to Christmas than this?
The other reason for Christmas
The non-secular reason for Christmas is family, friends and presents. It’s a time for trees decorated with lights. It’s the fun of going to see some poor old man dressed up as Santa and struggling in the heat. It’s the time for yummy food, delicious desserts and sore, overfull stomachs.
Many Christians feel like they shouldn’t enjoy this non-secular part of Christmas. They feel Christmas should be only about the birth of Jesus. But I don’t believe this is what Jesus would have wanted.
He wanted us to love our neighbours as ourselves. He wanted us to show love to our family and friends. He wants us to be full to the brim with his joy.
I don’t know about anyone else, but the most magical thing to me on Christmas day is the twinkling of lights over a large stocking and several presents under the tree. The excitement of what you will unwrap.
This doesn’t mean I don’t remember the true meaning for Christmas. It simply means I enjoy the party side of it too.
And guess what...you’re allowed to as well. As a Christian, it’s ok to enjoy presents and food and lights.
So please, this year, allow yourself to feel that childlike excitement and wonder. Cover your Christmas tree in beautiful lights and marvel at them. Go and see other houses lights displays. Go and meet Santa. And thank Jesus at the same time.
Emma Bamford is a Melbourne writer and edits the International young writers for Press Service International.