Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Celebrating Christmas

Written by my daughter, Grace.

Celebrating Christmas

By: Grace Barnett

November 22, 2006

It’s getting that time of year again. People are going here and there, trying to get everything ready for Christmas-time, and kids are getting ready for Santa Clause to come. They buy Christmas trees and their accessories, turkeys, hams, Christmas dinner, candy canes, yard decorations, lights, chocolate, and the thing that has everybody going crazy is….. PRESENTS!!!! But wait one minute… go back up there to that second sentence; did I say Santa Clause? And what is all this stuff that has everybody out of focus? I didn’t know that December 25th was called Santa Day, or Feast Day, or even Presents Day. I was raised calling it CHRISTmas Day. We are supposed to be celebrating Christ!! Hence the day’s name. We should look to the people that were around when Jesus was born, as an example of how to celebrate this holy day. Christmas celebrations are different now, than they were back then.

A couple of thousands of years ago, in a small town called Bethlehem, a little baby was born in a barn. People came from miles around, not to go shopping at the biggest mall in the world, but to gaze upon a baby that would be their future king. Now to me, that sounds like something to celebrate about. From humble shepherds to mighty kings; all the people of the land (except Herod because he was jealous) on that day forgot their troubles and their worries and came together to celebrate the birth of a king. They had a Spirit of thankfulness and worship. They did not spend all day cooking a big feast; they did not buy lots of presents or decorate trees; and they didn’t read stories to their children about magical reindeer and a fat guy driving a sleigh. They sang praises to God for sending them the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ their king.

In this century, Christmas has come to have a completely new meaning. Today, Christmas means lots of presents, eating candy, decorating trees, cooking a big feast, and singing about riding through the snow on a horse named Bob. Some people probably don’t even know the true meaning of Christmas. And you know that Christ isn’t on everyone’s minds when they check out at K-Mart with 10 buggies filled with toys and food. And some people, when you ask them about Christmas, will tell you all about the skate board they got last year or the big-screen TV they plan on getting this year. You’ll hear a lot of people talk about the ‘Spirit of Christmas’. And you might be tempted to think that Christ is being celebrated. However, what that really means is not to forget to buy all your brothers, cousins, and nephews something for Christmas. It also means don’t ruin the holidays for everybody else by not putting up lights, a tree, or those inflatable snowmen you put in your yard. Is this the right way to be celebrating Christmas? I know giving is a good thing, and baking cookies with your kids is fun, but when you make that the whole reason you look forward to and celebrate Christmas, then there is definitely something wrong.

As you can see, the way people celebrated Christmas back when Jesus was born and the way we celebrate Christmas now make Christmas sound ambiguous. It’s not, though. Christmas has only one meaning: celebrating Christ’s birth. Yes, I think it’s OK to give gifts and bake cookies with your kids; it gives you quality time with your family. Don’t make gift giving the whole reason you celebrate Christmas, though. If somebody asks you what you got for Christmas, just tell him you got the gift of salvation because your king was born (possibly) on this day. (There is no record in the Bible of when Christ was born, but that is a tale I will tell another time.)