As it now stands this is the twenty sixth time I have experienced Christmas. It is an undeniable fact that Christmas means something different for most people. I think people typically take Christmas in three different ways. The first are those who see Christmas from the commercial/worldly point of view. They have generally good experiences, but always leave the holiday unfulfilled and somewhat disappointed. The second would be the opposite, those who take this holiday negatively. Because of bad experiences they have allowed their view of Christmas to become bitter or depressing focusing specifically on their selves and the hands life has dealt them. Lastly, there is Christmas for a Christian. This is one that focuses on the reality of Christ, who He is, what He as done, and who He has made them in Him and while life may not always be the easiest it is never any less worth it. Of course these broad categories are not one size fits all, but personally I have fit into each at one point or another. While modern Christmas is built off the commercial and pagan, the thought it is meant to provoke in Christians this time of year stays the same, and since we cannot change the date we should strive to hold onto the meaning.
When I look at how my view of Christmas has transformed over the years it is amazing to see the transitions and how much they reflect my stages of worldview. As a kid Christmas was about what it was to every kid, which is the material. I would invest so much of my hope and joy into materials that would within months either break or become obsolete. In turn there would be an aftermath of feelings leaving me disappointed and no more fulfilled than before Christmas began. This view of Christmas very much reflected my view of God. Nonexistent. For me Christmas was not about Christ, so like life, worldly things only fulfilled me for a moment and without Him I was that much more empty. I think many people find their selves in that position this time of year. For all the hype it all just winds down in disappointment leading them to long for next year. Unless we find out what Christmas truly means that fulfillment will never actually be present.
The second type of Christmas I have experienced in life are bitter/negative ones. Most of the time this comes as one focuses on their self and what they do not have as opposed to what they do. These came as I was not satisfied with the circumstances in which life had brought me to. When I was not a believer I would ignore my need for something deeper in life to whine about why I could not obtain all I wanted of the shallow. Being a believer the same thing would happen except having Christ I had no excuse. I would feel as if God had not brought me to where I wanted nor had He given me the things I felt I deserved. Regardless the case, I would become bitter, angry, and ultimately resentful of Christmas. Correct me if I am wrong, but that was in no way near remembrance of Christ birth and purpose. Instead of being thankful for what God has given I was angry about what He had not. We tend to forget that things could always be worse, and for a believer even when we have nothing we still have Christ.
The third view, my present view, on Christmas, is what I deem the Christian view. This sees the truth of Christmas, the fact that while this may not be the exact date or time, Christ did come some two thousand years ago, as a man, as a sacrifice to save us from ourselves. Literally. Sure it is not always perfect, some I spend alone, while others do not go the way I want them, but that does not change the reality of what He came to do for humanity including me. People are dying and suffering eternal separation from God, so to be able to know why Christ came and that I can have eternal fellowship because of Him, that makes Christ the definite article of a gift in my life.
This year, this Christmas, have been good. It has not always been easy and things have not always worked out the way I had hoped, but that does not change the fact of his goodness and the good He has brought into my life. Not only that, but all the amazing things he has done in my friends life also. I have friends on the mission field, in full time ministry, in school, in the workforce, starting families, all serving God and inspiring others as they strive to live Christ. He as at work in so many brilliant ways, so as we know Him our goal at Christmas should not be for ourselves for Him and telling the world of who He is. You cannot have Christmas without Christ just like you cannot have Christopher without Christ.That is a gift in which I can be eternally grateful.I would rather have Christmas with Christ than Chrismas without