Happy weekend! Oh, and Merry Christmas! Indeed, as we are now within a week of December 25th, I really like to think of this as Christmas week. Don’t you? I thought today I’d take a break from sharing fashion and beauty tips and we’d just sit and chat a bit. So pour yourself a cup of your favorite winter beverage and let’s talk Christmas.
With the pandemic putting a crimp in our Christmas celebrations, James and I have been trying to enjoy the holiday the best we can. We’re disappointed that being with family just wasn’t even an option for us this Christmas. And we’re missing out on all the holiday parties that we enjoyed attending last year with our church’s life groups, staff and friends. So it’s really been up to us to create our own special moments, just the two of us.
Christmas isn’t really about the parties and gifts and shows and exhibits, of course. And our family’s most meaningful traditions aren’t even tied to those things. But for us, participating in some of those festive gatherings and events each year has always helped us to celebrate the true source of our joy, Jesus.
I liken it to anything else we celebrate. When we celebrate a child’s birthday, a son’s graduation or a daughter’s marriage, we create a joyful event by having yummy food, festive music, gifts, activities that evoke laughter, dancing and photo opportunities. The celebration is not about those things. But those activities and decorations and objects act as little “joy prompters,” if you will.
So yeah, I guess a lot of our joy prompters got cancelled this year. But that just means we have to dig a little deeper and find the joy of the season without all of those things. That kind of feels like being told to “laugh and act happy” at a party without cake and games and gifts.
That would be pretty difficult for a child at a neighborhood birthday party. But we’re not children and Jesus isn’t just a neighbor kid. And that is why, despite the circumstances, I’m actually enjoying this year’s celebration of Christmas. Instead of leaning on parties and platters of fudge to spark the joy, I’ve dug a little deeper and spent more time than usual reflecting on why we celebrate the birth of Christ.
A Question that Led to a Conundrum
I recently asked an influencer I follow on Instagram to share what celebrating Hanukkah means to her. She had been posting about the traditions her family keeps and the historical event it commemorates. So I assumed she would gladly tell me what the holiday means to her personally. But she refused. As in, she told me, “No, I won’t do that.”
I wasn’t put out with her. I still follow her and enjoy her Instagram stories. I was just a little baffled…and sad. I honestly wanted to know about the feelings her Jewish celebration evoked in her. And that prompted me to want to share briefly here what Christmas means to me.
(By the way, one of my readers who is Jewish was kind enough to share her thoughts on Hanukkah in the comments of Monday’s post. It was a very heartfelt response to my curiosity, and I am genuinely grateful that she shared her heart with us there.)
My church didn’t celebrate advent when I was growing up. But in my adult years I’ve become more exposed to the advent celebration and participated in it some years. Advent simply means the arrival of an important event, person or celebration. And many Christians use advent wreaths, candles and readings to help prepare their hearts to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Christ.
Most advent readings have you light four different candles in the weeks approaching Christmas. The candles are given different meanings, depending on the church’s tradition. But our church and many others light candles for hope, peace, joy and love.
And those four words precisely explain how I feel about Christmas. Indeed, this religious holiday is so much more to me than a tradition. It’s definitely more than the “joy prompters” I mentioned earlier, like gifts and parties and candy and concerts. And it’s more than warm feelings, family moments, acts of kindness or laughter, too. (As much as I enjoy watching Hallmark Christmas movies, it absolutely drives me batty that they assign these sentimental and trivial meanings to Christmas.)
What Christmas Means to Me
For me, Christmas is a reminder that Jesus is everything. He alone is my source for hope, peace, joy and love.
Because Jesus was born, I know that God is a promise keeper. He said He would send a savior and He did. And so I know He will keep His other promises, too.
Because Jesus was born and later died on the cross and rose again, I know that this is not all there is. In this world we have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world. Therefore, we have hope.
When I get bad news or watch the news, I cling to the hope I have in Jesus.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He is our peace. He is the only bridge between us and our Creator. Sin separates us from God, but Jesus reunites us with our Maker through His death on the cross. Jesus affords us peace with our God.
Without peace with our God we cannot have peace within ourselves or peace with others. But because I am at peace with God through Christ, I can live peaceably in this broken world and be at peace with others by giving them the grace, forgiveness and mercy that has been given to me.
I’ve discovered that true joy is only found in Jesus. He is the gift of God to a broken people. Jesus is a promise kept, a triumphant victory, a sweet reunion, a lavish gift and a loving invitation all wrapped into one. What joy!!!
God loved the people He created so much that He lavishly demonstrated that love by sending His one and only Son into the world as a humble baby born in a manger so that Prince could walk among ordinary men and women and then pay the ultimate price for our souls. I would never give my son Daniel to die for you, dear friend. Nope. I wouldn’t do it. But God did that for you and me. Now that is love.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Look, this is a style and beauty blog. And while I do take the occasional Saturday to post an inner beauty post because I believe that true beauty begins within, for the most part I keep this website focused on fairly worldly things.
But I just couldn’t let this season pass without sharing with you, my dear readers, what Christmas means to me. I honestly believe that sharing this could be life-changing for someone. But even if you have just read this post with mild curiosity, that’s quite okay. Many of my usual readers will not even read this post, and that’s totally fine. But I knew I needed…wanted…to share my feelings on this
holiday holy day.
And I’d love for you to share with me and other readers what Christmas means to you. And hey, if you celebrate Hanukkah or another tradition, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your celebration, too. If you have graciously read my words, I will certainly read and ponder yours, too. Thank you for reading. God bless you!
Do you have thoughts you’d like to share about today’s topic? I’d love to hear from you today! I tend to take as much time off from work as I can during the weekends, so I may not reply to your comments unless you ask me a direct question. But I’d love for you to carry on this conversation in the comment section below. And you can know for certain that I read and value each and every comment. Please remember that I try to keep this space free from controversy, so let’s stay away from the topic of politics or other divisive issues.