Howard Coop | The meaning of Christmas

Published 10:38 am Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas is almost here. The calendar notes that it is a holiday, but what is Christmas? I asked some friends to give me a definition of “Christmas” as they understood it. They responded and now, I have a stack of responses before me. 

Using different words, those friends defined Christmas as they understand it, and there was an amazing similarity in their answers.  One wrote, Christmas is “not Santa nor presents,” and another wrote, “Christmas is time spent with family and friends whom we adore.” Still another wrote that Christmas “should be a time of singing and of the joy that death was defeated.” Then, one wrote, “Christmas is remembering!”

After these introductory words, each individual came to the central meaning of Christmas. In one way or another, they stated that it centers around the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea, just over two thousand years ago, and what that birth means for us today. One of the first responses I received was, Christmas is “God’s ultimate gift of love.” Another wrote, “Christmas is the most important date in history…the gift of a savior to the world.” Almost everyone said that Christmas is “the birth of our Savior.” One went a step further, and indicated that Christmas is “God coming to reconcile us to himself.” Still, another said that Christmas is “a reminder to worship the Almighty for His unmeasured mercy and love.”

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The responses I received indicated something else that is important. Almost without exception, each individual pointed out a positively personal aspect of the meaning of Christmas. Those individuals used personal pronouns like “we, our, and me,” to state what Christmas meant to them. One person wrote, “Christmas is the birth of Christ who lives in my heart.”

In the Gospel of Luke, the meaning of Christmas is defined.

“Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born.”

As that event changed the route of the Wise Men who came to worship, it continues to change the direction of those who bow before that Savior.