Summary: Personal Reflections on the meaning of Christmas
Christmas has always been my most favorite time of the year. With everything that has happened this year that seems to cast a cloud over this holiday, I still have a reason to praise God this holiday season. As you consider everything that has happened in your life in 2009 and what you are expecting God to do for you in 2009, you too should be rejoicing with me today. You see, it is not about the presents, the food and all of the decorations; it is about the one eternal gift that God gave us when He sent Jesus to this earth. We’ve all heard the stories and we have seen the movies relating to the real meaning of Christmas but I tell you this morning, unless you understand the truth with your heart, you will never fully understand the fullness of the gift that God has given us.
I often think about all of the Christmas’s I’ve had as a child and with all of my memories, I realize that back then, even though I knew the real meaning of Christmas, it still came down to the presents, the decorations and the food. I never thought about or considered the level of stress and anxiety that my parents must have felt as they tried to ensure that we had presents on Christmas morning. Some of you understand what I am talking about. There are many people who spend most of the next year paying for Christmas presents that they could not afford to buy the year before. This is done out of the desire to make their kids Christmas the best. I was talking to my sister this week and she shared with me that while she was going through some of my father’s things, she found a receipt from where my parents had brought us Christmas presents in 1964. This receipt was for 2 bicycles and one tricycle. They had purchased these gifts for approximately $74. They could not afford to pay for it so they placed the items on lay-away. Remember when your family purchased things on a lay-away plan? Most stores did away with their lay-away plans, but some are bringing them back with our current economy. I do not know how long it took them to pay for these three gifts but I do know that back in 1964, $74 was a lot of money, especially for my parents. As most kids do, my thoughts during those times were primarily focused on what I was receiving. As I got older, my thoughts remained the same, but I also began to consider what I could give others, especially those who I knew were getting me something. Imagine my anxiety when Christmas Eve came and someone gave me a present that I was not expecting and they had this expectant look on their face for the present they thought I had gotten them. Ever been there? Today it does not mean anything to me. I have everything that I need so to receive a present is not the focused of my holiday anymore. I am old now and a parent of almost grown children. I understand now what my parents when through each Christmas. Although they enjoyed Christmas, they never seemed to be as excited about getting presents as we were. Now I understand why, it was not about the presents.