Sunday, December 14, 2014

What is Christmas?

Over the past few days I've been contemplating my feelings towards Christmas.  I'm sure we all remember as kids, how excited we were every Christmas morning to run to our Christmas tree and check out all the present we got.  I remember laying in bed for hours Christmas Eve, unable to sleep for the excitement within me.  I remember the warmth and excitement of the entire Christmas season, how it just built up and up and up, all culminating on the 25th.

But now things feel different.  I no longer feel this burning excitement within me, super-anxious for Christmas to arrive so I can check out my gifts.  I find that I more enjoy just spending the time with family.  More than gifts I now cherish the special time spent with family members I haven't seen in a long time.  I cherish the memories made and the good times enjoyed.

But I don't need Christmas to be able to enjoy those times with family.  I can use any day of the year for that.  I'm assuming many adults feel the same way that I do towards Christmas and presents.  We no longer feel that drive and desire to get tons of gifts.

So if Christmas isn't really about presents, and if it really isn't focused completely on spending time with family, what is it about?

I feel like the world has turned Christmas into something commercial, something manufactured.  They still try to emphasize the true meaning of Christmas, of remembering Christ and his birth.  But it still takes a back burner to the worldly aspects of Christmas.

So I wonder if we do the same thing?  Do we still claim that we are remembering the true meaning of Christmas, God's purpose for Christmas, when in reality that is just a facade for what we actually do with our families: buying and getting gifts, spending frazzled nights trying to get our family Christmas cards ready, and spending long days making Christmas cookies?  Now don't get me wrong, none of these are bad things.  In fact, they're wonderful traditions that I cherish in my own family.  But my question is are we still putting those things ahead of what Christmas is really about?  I know that I'm certainly guilty of this.  We say we remember the true meaning of Christmas, but we only spend a few hours on it total during the Christmas season.  It's similar for Easter: we remember the true meaning of Easter, but oftentimes we're more focused on egg decorating and hunting and waiting for the Easter bunny.

So how can we put Christ at the center of our Christmas and not leave Him out on the fringes?  I guess that's my question for you.  I don't claim to know, that's what I've been trying to figure out.  So how do you put Christ in the center of your Christmas?  Please comment below and we'll try and see if we can figure it out.  I'll close, though, with a few comments by some modern-day apostles and prophets that can hopefully steer us in the right direction.

And yet, Christmas is what we make of it. Despite all the distractions, we can see to it that Christ is at the center of our celebration. If we have not already done so, we can establish Christmas traditions for ourselves and for our families which will help us capture and keep the spirit of Christmas. - Thomas S. Monson

The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things. - Thomas S. Monson

While it’s true that we can find materialism and anxiety in Christmas, it is also true that if we have eyes to see, we can experience the powerful message of the birth of the Son of God and feel the hope and peace He brings to the world.  - Dieter F. Uchtdorf

1 comment:

  1. I tell my children from day one that Santa is not real. I want to take Santa Claus out of the picture. We focus on serving others. Christmas is about family. It's about being together serving others and making memories. There is nothing wrong with days baking cookies, if you are making memories together. Memories tie families to each other. We read The Christmas Train by Thomas S. Monson every Christmas Eve. A book about being Christ-like on Christmas. You can put the meaning of Christmas back by centering Christmas around serving others. By being selfless and thinking of ways to help others feel Christ's love, you will feel it in your home.