I haven’t slept much recently, but not just because I am a college student that finally finished studying for and taking her finals. The sleep deprivation is because it is my favorite time of year, Christmas time, and I’ve been busily decorating cookies, shopping and partaking in the tradition of beautification of boxes.
Although it is my favorite season, I think that we simultaneously see the best and worst of humanity during the holidays. We want so badly to make things beautiful and give unto family and friends. Meanwhile, we may spend too much money and cut off strangers in the parking lot.
I feel like that’s the catch-22 of Christmas. It was supposed to be a celebration of God, and the people, relationships and opportunities given to us. But all too often the meaning gets lost. Christmas becomes less about the adoration of God and more about fighting to find XBOX 360s, iPads and the like for loved ones.
I don’t think any of these things are bad. Who am I to judge? I just treated myself to a new guitar. But I wonder if these things are really what Christmas is about. It seems like these material gifts are mere skeletons of the real Christmas gift. While these toys have the capacity to entertain us, they do not make us whole and the entertainment they provide and the fellowship they may bring through their usage are just a means to an end. I don’t think they come near to offering what is needed to speak to the depths of a broken heart, shattered relationships and strained communication.
Often times these new inventions and toys are fought over one year and forgotten the next. You don’t still play with the toys you threw a tantrum over when you were four. Years from now, you will not listen to your iPod because years back you were listening to a WalkMan. I don’t think gift giving is a bad thing, especially when it is in a spirit of selflessness. But sometimes Christ gets lost in Christmas. And instead of Christmas being a celebration of truth, grace, hope, faith and love, it can become a materialistic competition for the newest gadgets.
I think it is time to pause, put the gift giving aside and think about the real meaning of Christmas. I think we need to just stand in awe of the creator and the birth of Christ. I reflect on the lyrics from “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” …
O come, all ye faithful, joyful & triumphant
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels,
O come let us adore Him, O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
I wonder what it would have been like, the Savior of mankind born after years and years of waiting. I wonder what it might have been like to arrive at the barn, to lean over the manger and to see hope in human form. That moment, that night in the barn, was when grace was given a name, Jesus. Love now existed on earth in its purest form, against the forces of hell that rose to destroy it. The stars shining brighter than they ever had, angels singing in a vocal symphony audible to human ears.
I imagine traveling miles to see Him and bow, weep, laugh and be embraced by the shepherds. The anticipation, eagerness and excitement of those shepherds must have been overwhelming as they crossed the fields and searched the town to meet their God. It must have been beautiful. I can’t imagine any other Christmas present that could top this amazing gift we’ve all been given.
Jesus, help me to remember the real meaning of this season.
RELEVANT’s “Deeper Walk” daily devotionals are presented by the LUMO Project, a visual translation of the four Gospels developed to engage people with scripture in a new way. You can watch the videos—which redefine the standard of visual biblical media—on YouTube, and find out more about LUMO’s mission at their website.