“The real meaning of Christmas” is a phrase often used. Christians regret the fact that society seems to have forgotten it. Others use it to refer to something they think is core to Christmas (but they might not be right.) What is it?
I was shocked to hear a commentator on the radio recently saying that the real meaning of Christmas is commercialism. She stated explicitly that Christmas is really about shopping. She didn’t want anyone interfering with that. Maybe she was joking. Please tell me that she was joking.
Wikipedia says that “the true meaning of Christmas” is often given “vague religious overtones” but in pop culture it means “a sort of introspective and benevolent attitude”.
See this TV3 News item. When it concludes by saying “It is all about celebrating the real meaning of Christmas” what do they believe it is? Giving? Caring? It is interesting that the item starts by saying Christmas is meant to be about “food, family and festivities”. Really?
Here is a great story about a mother who wanted to change the perspective of her children. She really is onto something. Their generosity and love for others reflects God’s generosity in giving His Son because He loved the world so much. They are onto something important and lots of families could benefit by following suit. But there is also something missing. The headline says that the real meaning of Christmas is giving. Candace is quoted as saying, “In my eyes Christmas is about spending time with family, making memories and having lots of good food…”
What is missing is Jesus. Any explanation you hear cannot possibly be the real meaning of Christmas if it doesn’t refer to Jesus. The TV3 item claimed to be about the real meaning of Christmas but didn’t mention Jesus. In fact, it said that Santa’s workshop had come to Auckland!
And it is more than simply living in the way that Jesus taught and modelled. It is more than pulling our moral socks up. It is about the salvation that comes through faith in Jesus and repentance. Not to put too fine a point on it, it is actually about our sin and the need for salvation.
Here are some links to Christian pages explaining it.
- CBN – Christian Broadcasting Network
- Grace To You
- Got Questions?
- Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
Do you own investigation. To discover the real meaning we need to go not to Wikipedia or to the media. We need to know what the Bible says. Why don’t you list some passages that explain the meaning of Christmas? There are many passages, for example, that say why Jesus came into the world. List as many as you can and then summarise what you see.
For a start, watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas
But does even that focus on Jesus and then confuse the message somewhat? Is it really about appreciating the less spectacular tree?