Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Meaning of Christmas

It was once said that there would be no Christmas if not for Easter. Today, my thoughts dwell on the meaning of Christmas.

In all actuality, Christmas makes me feel rather like the Grinch or Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. For a time that is celebrates gifts and love and giving, there sure seems to be a lot of greed, selfishness, envy, and hatred going around. In the mass commercialization that has become such a familiar part of Christmas, I wonder if we have lost sight of what the purpose of everything is.

While serving a mission in the great states of Kansas and Missouri, I had a powerful experience that taught me the true meaning of Christmas, gifts, and what it all means. I was in Wichita, Kansas for a meeting with other missionaries as part of a traveling Christmas music program. After the meeting, we (myself and the other missionaries in the music group) decided to go and carol to some of the nursing homes in the area. As we sung Christmas hymns and classic songs, my heart was filled with an understanding of Christmas. The purpose of Christmas is to remind us of charity -- the pure love of God. Think about it. Everyone involved in the first Christmas showed love and charity. Joseph displayed this powerful attribute when he didn't put Mary away, the wise men came bearing precious gifts, God gave us the gift of His Son so that we may be made whole.

Of course, that gift -- Jesus Christ -- was the paramount gift that Christmas. He was to be the one to redeem the world, to show us "a more excellent way," and to heal the broken hearted. That is why we give gifts on Christmas. We seek to emulate the gift given to the world by sacrificing our own wants, needs, or desires to fulfill those of another person. That is what Christmas is about -- not the toys, the Black Friday deals, or even the treats (GASP!).

Lastly, Christmas is a time of hope. That first Christmas brought new hope into a dark, dreary, and hopeless world. It is my hope that perhaps one day, we will have a Christmas without any fear, sorrow, or anguish -- a Christmas that is a good one.