A few years back, my family and I watched a movie about the writing of Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Christmas Carol. The movie was very well done, and we all enjoyed it, but it left me with an uneasy feeling. Not because of the story itself, but because of the title: “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”
To give credit where credit is due, quite a few of our current Christmas traditions have come from A Christmas Carol, but I wouldn’t go so far as to give Dickens the title of “Inventor of Christmas”. Heck if we do that we might as well give Coca-cola the runner up prize for their iconic jolly Santa Claus!
The reality, of course, is that Christmas isn’t a human invention at all.
Christmas goes against humanity’s natural inclination of selfishness (at least when we focus on what we are supposed to and not on our list of wants and getting sick from eating as many cookies as we can!).
C.S. Lewis put it pretty clearly when he commented, “The birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the Earth – the very thing the whole story has been about.” On that he and I completely agree. Not that a great thinker like C.S. Lewis needs my affirmation. When you think about it, all of time points to the birth of the Messiah, and so it is that event which we really celebrate. The gifts we give each other represent not only the wise men’s gifts, but also the free gift of salvation through Jesus. The angels and stars and even the candy cane are symbols reminding us of the Christmas story.
Don’t get me wrong, I love putting up the Christmas tree with all the cherished memories on display, baking cookies, attending Christmas parties, and even buying gifts. However, I really have to make a conscious effort to not lose focus of what I am really celebrating.
It’s so easy to get lost in the consumption and parties, trying to frantically find the perfect gift to let family, friends, and colleagues know that I care. I find myself feeling like Charlie Brown in his famous Christmas cartoon, wanting everything perfect and feeling discouraged that I can’t pull it off. Oh brother!
None of those activities are the main point though, most are modern inventions (and distractions!). Christmas is truly a time to reflect on God’s gracious and undeserved gift to us, and in turn, our love for one another.
On a social media platform that shall not be named, I recently saw a post that this (meaning Christmas) was never meant to be a burden. It stopped me in my tracks, and I really reflected on that statement. I really stewed on it for quite a while. Christmas is meant to be a celebration, and NOT a burden. I’ll be honest, I can be a humbug when I feel overwhelmed, and this statement helped me so much.
When we first reflect on God’s love and the true meaning of it all, we can then turn around and love others without it being burdensome. What a radically different way to look at this time of year!
So, even though we are on the tail end of it, don’t let this holiday season be a burden to you either. Take time to reflect on all the good things in life: friends, family, community, wool socks and central heating (I really don’t like being cold).
Even when our world seems completely crazy and upside down we can still be grateful.
I know not everyone will find this message relevant, but I hope you find it encouraging even if you don’t agree. Not everyone agrees on what Christmas is truly about, but realistically, his name is in the word itself… just sayin’.
Let me also tell you all how very grateful we are for the love and support you have shown our AmmoSquared family throughout the year! That is very much a gift to us and something that we are constantly reflecting on. Without you all, we wouldn’t be here.
So with that I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful and happy New Year!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” -Isaiah 9:6