Why do we celebrate Christmas? What is the meaning behind the giving and receiving of gifts?
Is Christmas about more than a jolly old man with a white beard who gives gifts to those on his nice list and looks over those who have been naughty? Is it more than just the warm fuzzy feeling we get when we give and receive gifts?
When we were putting up our Christmas tree and decorations, I found a few Christmas books that I had gotten from the dollar bins at Target last year, one of which was The Night Before Christmas. As I opened it and started to read it to Kaelyn, I pointed to Santa and asked, “Who’s that?” Her answer right away was, “Noah”. She thought that Santa was Noah from her Noah and the Ark books, and actually, I was okay with that. Now that she is two and can better understand the true meaning of Christmas, we have been pretty intentional about talking with her about Christmas being Jesus’ birthday. For us, it’s not just a day that we get to open presents and eat yummy food and get together with our families. I want my daughter to understand that Christmas is about so much more than that.
The greatest gift we could ever receive was given to us by God when He sent His Son to be born of a virgin and live on this earth as a man. Christmas is about the incarnation of God. Incarnation means to take on flesh, and that is what Jesus did when He left His divine place in Heaven to become a man and live on this earth.
As Christians, the reason that our family celebrates Christmas is because we are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to earth as a baby, fully God and fully human. Christmas is Jesus’ birthday.
That is the reason that Christmas has meaning, the reason that we give and receive gifts is to remember the Ultimate Gift that was given to us. For us, it’s not about Santa and his reindeer, or eating lots of good food and making Christmas cookies, or Christmas trees and pretty lights and lots of presents under the tree. Those things are nice, and don’t get me wrong, we enjoy celebrating those parts of Christmas with our families, but if we had to give all of those things up, we would still celebrate Christmas because of the Hope, Love, Peace and Joy that we have found in a baby who was born in a stable and became the Savior of the world.