In the movie How the Grinch stole Christmas it is suggested that Christmas is more than presents, decorations and eating of the roast beast. The movie never states what the meaning of Christmas is however, coming to terms with the real meaning of Christmas will be life changing.
In Charles Dicken’s Christmas Carol you may start to believe that a life time of abusive behaviour of your fellowman can be overcome if you have enough money to buy gifts and donate money to charity.
Dicken’s view appears to be that the true spirit of Christmas is in what money can buy, which is having parties and giving gifts to others.
Let’s not forgot Miracle on 34thStreet which replaces the Son of God being born in a manager with some fat guy with a beard in a red suit who hands out gifts. In this movie faith is reduced to believing this guy has flying reindeer and the ability to give gifts to every child in the world – at least in wealthy western countries.
Don’t get me wrong, time with family at Christmas is great. The Christmas tree, decorations and a great meal with turkey, stuffing, gravy and cranberries is all part of this time of year. Who could be against such things?
However, the true meaning of Christmas has little to do with food, family or presents.
The world has a problem with the true meaning of Christmas for two reasons. First, our modern society isn’t allowed to speak about Christianity because to express Christian views somehow discriminates against others. Second, because people don’t like to be remained of the truth.
So if you are looking for the true meaning of Christmas you need to look hard at two inescapable truths. First, look hard into a mirror and come to realize that you, and I, are sinners both against God and our fellowman. Christmas isn’t Christmas simply because Jesus was born but because it started the events that lead to Easter.
We should not forget that the angels did sing when Jesus was born that he would take away the sins of the world and the wise men did give Jesus the gift of myrrh which was a spice used to prepare a body for burial. You can see why it is an easier sell to redefine Christmas as decorations, food and gifts instead of sin and death.
However, a life changing experience doesn’t come in a box nor is found in a good turkey dinner but with the realization that Christmas is summed up with a line from the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”
Christmas demonstrates the second inescapable truth and that is this world may appear to be controlled by mankind, but it is God who is working behind the scenes to determine the course of events. Whether it was Pontius Pilate, King Agrippa, the religious leaders of the day or the angry mob that gathered when Jesus was arrested, it was God not man that determined that man needed a saviour and that the Son of God was sent to be that Saviour.
In our modern day we may believe that people like McGuinty, Fantino, Harper or even the Native Protesters are determining the course of events in Haldimand but we would be wrong.
Mankind's inability to forgive and failure to overcome guilt and grief may appear to continue a cycle of violence and sin however, with Christmas upon us each one of us can come to terms with the true meaning of Christmas.
True Christians forgive not because they are holy, righteous or better than others but because they understand the greatness of forgiveness that they themselves need. I forgive because I myself have been forgiven. The gift of forgiveness then is passed on from one person to the next as we come to terms with our need to be forgiven.
So this Christmas take the time to forgive your spouse, your father or mother, your neighbour or co-worker. However, before you do take the time to reflect on how many times in your life you too needed forgiveness. If you do this then you will have some sense of the true meaning of Christmas.
So take time this Christmas for family, friends and enjoy the decorations, movies and the turkey dinner, but first take time to refresh your soul.
Gifts at Christmas are symbolic of the greatest gift ever given and that is Jesus was sent to die to provide the gift of salvation for you and me. The only question that remains is whether you are willing to accept that gift.