I always look forward to the end of fall semester, with school wrapping up and a much-needed break on the way. Even before the turkey is on the table for Thanksgiving, I’m ready for Christmas. I get warm all over imagining a picture-perfect holiday in a cozy little cabin blanketed with snow. When I see It’s a Wonderful Life in the TV listings, I really start to feel excited. And I have to admit, I enjoy hitting the mall when seasonal tunes play over an outlandish mall Santa display.
Eventually, though, I can’t help thinking I’m missing something. I mean, the point is that Jesus, the Son of God, was born on this earth. That’s the big news, right? But somehow, I lose the message in months of yuletide madness. In fact, I forget about the real meaning of Christmas almost until the big day arrives. And by that time, Christ’s birth feels more like, say, a present from Aunt Polly than the dream gift I’ve been waiting for weeks to open.
This holiday season, I’m trying to give the Christmas story a bigger place in my life. Maybe you’d like to try that, too.
What Crystal Kirgiss and her friends did in “A Gift of Love” is a great example, taking the hope of Jesus to people who desperately needed it. Another way to make the holiday come alive could be to research how Christians in other cultures celebrate the birth of Christ. And why not read through the first few chapters of Luke in a version you’re not familiar with (like The Message paraphrase) to get a brand-new perspective on the story? If you live near a city, check out a professional performance of Handel’s Messiah—it’ll knock your socks off. Or ask your youth leader to help you learn more about Advent, the Church’s ancient tradition of waiting for the coming Savior.
If you’re willing to break out of some old patterns and try a few new ideas, you’ll find more meaning in the true message of Christmas.