So it’s December, and everyone knows what that means: Christmastime is here. And since I’m in Canada and we have our Thanksgiving in October, I’ve been listening to Christmas music since November 1st.
And I kinda love it.
Like most kids I know, I grew up being excited to wake up Christmas morning. I eagerly ran downstairs to find presents under the tree. The night before, I would “feed the reindeer” with my mom by laying out “reindeer food” (oats with red and green sprinkles) on the snow in our backyard. Of course the next morning it would be gone (likely eaten by squirrels), which proved that reindeer existed. I revelled in the music, the crisp winter air, the lights on the tree. And, of course, all the yummy goodies. Christmas is my favourite holiday, and I think it’s a lot of other people’s too. People like happy holidays.
But that’s not what Christmas is all about. And being brought up in a Christian home, I think I knew that pretty early on.
While Jesus Christ may not have been born on exactly December 25, His birth must be remembered and celebrated. And what better time to celebrate His birth than during the cold, bleak winter months?
Unlike both of my wonderful parents, I am no history buff. But after doing a brief Google search, it seems that we celebrate Christmas on December 25 for a number of reasons. For one, it’s nine months after the Annunciation, which is March 25. This is apparently when Mary was told she would have a baby. It’s also around the time of Hanukkah (important because Jesus was Jewish), as well as the Winter Solstice. It just made sense to have the celebration around the same time. This is probably why Pope Julius I chose December 25th as the day for Christmas in the early years of the church.
Even the name “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ”. People gather together to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
No matter how you slice it, Christmas origins are about Jesus. It’s not really about the presents, the snow, or the tree. It’s about how God made himself into human form. Most importantly, it’s about God’s love for us.
It’s also a time where we remember that God’s love will persist despite persecution. Jesus Christ was born and changed our lives, despite King Herod’s persecution. As Christians we must hold onto our faith and persevere, and that’s what this season really does.
It’s not about the lights on the tree. It’s about the Light of the world.