Like anyone else in the western world, you’ve probably had your fair share of Christmases. Perhaps you’ve watched all the Christmas movies, from Home Alone to It’s A Wonderful Life; perhaps you’ve listened to all the festive music too, from Nat King Cole to David Bowie. Not to mention all the drinks you’ve drank, the presents you’ve unwrapped, and the decorations you’ve put up.
But sometimes you might get the feeling that Christmas feels a tad superficial. Perhaps your neighbours’ tacky, OTT Christmas light show is making you feel a little bit queasy, or perhaps your friend giving their boyfriend an ultimatum: a diamond ring or they’re dumped is making you feel very un-festive. If so, you might be wondering whether we’ve all forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.
Here at Beauty And Tips we haven’t. In this season of goodwill and peace to all men and women, let’s take a look at the true meaning of Christmas.
The Birth Of Jesus Christ
Jesus wasn’t actually born on the 25th December; Christmas was eventually celebrated on this date because it coincided with the festival of Mithras in Rome. But although Christ wasn’t born on “Christmas Day”, His birth is still the reason we have a festive season in the first place.
As it says in the Gospel of John:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Jesus was born so that men could be forgiven for their sins. He came here to save us from the error of our ways and to redeem us. He was the biggest gift that mankind has ever received, and it’s important that we never forget that.
Yes, it’s easy to forget this when we’re opening our presents and drinking another glass of champagne, but if you want to re-discover the true meaning of Christmas, the nativity story is right there in The Bible for you.
It’s A Time For Giving
Perhaps you’re wondering whether we really should be giving gifts at Christmas; after all, doesn’t this distract us from the true meaning of Christmas?
Well, actually, it doesn’t.
Gift-giving is mentioned in the story of Christ’s birth in the gospel of Matthew:
“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh.”
The Bible, then, tells us about the wonderful gifts that the three wise men bequeathed to baby Jesus.
Moreover, the apostle Paul explains how giving gifts is rewarding and fulfilling in the book of 2 Corinthians:
“But just as you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love – see that you also excel in this grace of giving. I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.”
Gift-giving during the holidays can be your expression of genuine love and care. Why not? But what you should remember is that it should not take away from the true meaning of Christmas. Because it doesn’t need to! So go ahead and enjoy putting a smile on someone’s face this year!
It’s A Time For Love
If you could ask us for one true meaning of Christmas, we would have to say Love.
Celebrating this amazing act of love is the real meaning of Christmas.
Think about it: The birth of Christ is the Christmas story. But why did God send him to us in the first place? Because God loves us.
People might ask if Christmas is necessary, and why it’s necessary, especially after all this time. Do we really still need it? Have we not abused its real meaning? But Christmas was necessary because mankind needed a Saviour. God loved us so much because God is love, and celebrating Christmas is our way of expressing our thanks and gratitude to Him. Giving gifts, showering our loved ones with love, and going to Church gathering, is our way of remembering His birth.
It’s A Time To Give Shelter
Christ’s parents, Mary and Joseph, were wandering for miles without food or water. They needed the security of a shelter to give birth to their son. They were hungry, tired, dejected; no one would take them in.
Eventually, they were offered shelter and Mary was able to give birth in the comfort of a manger.
Unfortunately, many, many people continue to go without shelter each Christmas all around the world. Whilst millions of us wake up with our families to give and receive presents, drink, eat and be merry, many more people wake up lonely, desolate and cold.
Imagine what it is like to not have a roof over your head at Christmas? Imagine feeling so cold that your bones are chilled? Imagine being so hungry that your stomach gnaws away, or being so sore that you cannot even lie down to sleep? This is an experience that many people go through each year at Christmas time.
Christmas is a time for shelter. Just like the innkeeper gave Mary and Joseph warm and comfort, so must we offer warm and comfort to those who really need it. Even if it’s just for one day – Christmas Eve or Christmas Day – sacrificing a few hours of your time to help those who need someone to talk to, a meal to eat, and something to drink should not be a big deal. Find a local homeless charity and do some voluntary work to remember the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s A Time For Compassion
For a lot of people, Christmas is a huge time of sorrow. They don’t have enough money to buy gifts, and they can barely afford to put a meal together for their children. Some have no family and have to spend it alone. Others are old and vulnerable, and aren’t able to travel to see their loved ones.
Remembering the innkeeper who welcomed Mary and Joseph, and remembering the extraordinary gift that God gave us, it’s important to recognise that Christmas is a time for compassion. It’s a time to appreciate those around us, to spend time with those less fortunate, and to make a real effort to make people happy.