What Does Christmas Mean?

I’ve grownup in a midwest United States in a Christian home and every year Christmas was important, but why?  When I was young I knew it as time away from school and when we got a bunch of gifts.  We would sit at the table for Christmas dinner with the family and say “today we remember Jesus’ birth and we should every day not only Christmas day“.  What does that mean?  Why is our remembrance just on special days of the year?  Have we advanced or evolved to the point that we don’t need God, we don’t need to remember He sent His only Son for us and then died for us?

I have now lived for just over a decade in Asia and for almost two decades I have been traveling to Asia and experienced many Christmas days in Asian villages as well as alone.  It changes the perspective when we aren’t bombarded by buying, decorating, and all the buzz around Christmas day and the season.

I heard the question asked by an American the other day “is the government office/immigration office of Thailand and Laos open Christmas eve and Christmas day?”.    Possibly a relevant question; however I feel it is just another blinder that has been put over the U.S. public believing that the world all can stop working for a day and sit around and eat a huge meal.  Most in Asia and other places outside the western world celebrate a new day each day that they have survived to work again so they can buy food for that day.  Western culture gives us the luxury of stopping work while spending more money on the one day that most any other day in the year.  [In Thailand most every small mom and pop shop is open 365 days a year even on government holidays because the income made that day is needed].

So now as a young Christian father I have the task to decide how we celebrate this one day of the year; do we celebrate this one day a year?  Do we need a Christmas tree, decorations, the food, and all the parties for getting together with people because of this one day?  We have been invited to Christmas parties, Christmas eve, and Christmas day meals and attend  because of friendship.  We were given a Christmas tree this year so we have put it up decorated with candy canes and all.  However I would say that I don’t want to raise my children celebrating Christmas one day a year.  I want them raised the way we talk about in western Christian homes that it is what we celebrate everyday, all year, and all of our life.

Admittedly I have prepared gifts for my children and wife.  We look forward to celebrating Christmas dinner with family— I have generosity in my heart and love my family and because of that they will know the expression of our faith and love all year long and not just one special day.

photo credit: Sunchild57 Photography. via photopin cc

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