It's that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of "Merry Christmas" to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?
For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don't have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.
Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.
Luke 2:4-19 (NIV) says:
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
Why did He come? Why did God send His son to this sometimes cruel and hard world? He sent Jesus to us so that one day, He would grow up to become a very important part of history. His story (history) is one of truth, love, and hope. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Jesus, we would all die in our sins.
Jesus was born so one day the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. The Bible says that all have sinned. We are all born with a sin nature. We do things that do not please God. Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that heaven is a place where we can go to when this life is over.
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." 1 John 1:9 (NLT)
We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We then become sons and daughters of God. Heaven will be our home one day.
Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a "Merry Christmas." The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.
Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!
Copyright © 2007 Martha Noebel. Used by permission.
Cherish the joyful spirit of Christmas Festival with these heartfelt and reflective essays on Christmas! We also invite you to share your feelings and expereinces on Christmas by sending us Christmas Essays written by you. Your essay will be posted on this page along with your name!!
Christmas Essays:My Usual Christmas Holiday - By Shakira A
Just before the last day of school I give out presents to my teacher and a few of my friends. I always hope they like what I get them. When school is over and the Christmas holiday begins I usually go out with my parents. During the day I go to Spain; maybe to a river or sometimes we just go on a ride round. Almost everyday we go out for lunch.
I always ask my parents not to tell me what they get me. Of course I no longer believe I Santa Claus. They usually buy a present for my brother to give to me, as my brother is five. What I do is have my supper and then we each go to our beds. My favourite part of the holiday is Christmas day.
Last year, I went down very early but my mother always tells me to wait for the rest of the family. When they come down I open my presents and every year I like what every one gets me. At night we have a roast dinner usually chicken. During January and February My brother and I get another present from my uncle from Australia it's usually clothing or sometimes jewellery.
Two years ago I went to church on Christmas Eve and I won all the figures for the crib; there were all sorts of things. It was like the whole town of Bethlehem. Last year and this year, my father built a mountain that is about a metre wide. It starts small with bits and pieces and from there we build up. I live with my mother, father, brother and uncle and every year we have a nice Christmas. We are all happy and we get lots of gifts. My friends Kelly-Ann and Karess always get me a nice present and I always give them one too.
Last year I gave Dr Ocana my teacher some figures to do a crib in class. Every year I give Christmas cards to all my friends. I love to decorate my house and last year I made a holly wreath out of a clothes hanger, some tinsel with a few decorations too.
What Christmas Means to me - By Rhonda
Christmas to me is a celebration, which includes spending time with my family, decorating the entire house, inside and out, and shopping, for the people I love. Doing this with the people I love is what means the most to me.
Spending Christmas with my family is very important to me. We usually gather and celebrate at my parent's house, in East Tennessee. My husband, our three children, and myself travel from California. My two sisters, their husbands, and children come from a nearby town, for our celebration. We spend the day baking cookies, making fudge and preparing a big Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings. The children love to see each other. They spend the day playing games and sharing their new gifts and toys that Santa Claus brought for each of them. They get so eager to decorate, that it is hard to restrain them.
Decorating for Christmas is so much fun. My father always draws a new background scenery, for the Nativity scene, that he displays, every year. He, my brother-in-laws and my husband start with the decorations for the outside of the house and the front yard. Every year, my parents add a little more to the outside decorations. My mom, sisters, our children and myself decorate the inside of the house. My mom has so many indoor decorations that they can not all possibly be displayed.
We try to change the decorations, which we put out every year. The men finish up just about the same time as, we women and then it is time to decorate the tree together. The children love this the most. The tree is always real, and is usually six to seven feet tall. Most of the ornaments have been collected over the years and are very old. They have become real family treasures. We all have a favorite one that we each put on the tree. All the children put their First Christmas ornament on the tree, that I brought, as a gift.
I am not usually a shopper, but during the Christmas season, I actually enjoy shopping. I rarely go into department stores, but during the Christmas season, I love to shop. The stores are so beautifully decorated and very festive. I can easily get carried away, with spending so much money. I must admit the thought of spending too much money hardly comes to mind. I can just picture of look on the faces, of my family and that brings me so much joy.
I feel so fortunate, to have my family throughout the year, but especially, at Christmas time. When showing, my family just how much I love them and what exactly they mean to me. That is so very important to me. Christmas, for me is about being with family, loving each other and showing each other just exactly how we all feel.A Christmas Carol - By Thomas
It is hard to believe that there is anyone on the planet who is not familiar with the story of A Christmas Carol. Written in a six-week period in October and November of 1843, the novel was the first of five short Christmas books published by Charles Dickens. Obviously, it was the most successful novel in the series. In fact, he was so certain that people would like his story that he refused to sell the rights to his publisher and instead paid to publish it himself. His instincts proved correct, and soon after its publication all of the copies were sold.
In his later years, Dickens would read an abridged version of A Christmas Carol at public readings for which he charged a fee. Often, that fee went to the several charitable organizations that he was involved with throughout his lifetime. The book itself was instrumental in raising people's awareness of poverty.
Since its publication, the story has been told many times in all imaginable forms. Despite the thousands of times that A Christmas Carol has been adapted to stage, radio, movies, and television, the novel remains the most popular and poignant telling of the tale.The Night Before Christmas - by Sister St. Thomas, B.N.D. de N
A more spiritual version of the famous Christmas story.
T'was the night before Christmas, and all through the town,
St. Joseph was searching, walking up roads and down;
Our Lady was waiting, so meek and so mild,
While Joseph was seeking a place for the Child.
The children were nestled, each snug in their beds,
The grown-ups wouldn't bother, "There's no room," they said;
When even the inkeeper sent them away,
Joseph was wondering, where they would stay?
He thought of the caves in the side of the hills,
"Let's go there," said Mary, "it's silent and still."
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
Made pathways of light for their tired feet to go;
And there in a cave, in a cradle of hay,
Our Saviour was born on that first Christmas Day!
The Father was watching in heaven above,
He sent for His angels, His couriers of love.
More rapid than eagles God's bright angels came,
Rejoicing and eager as each heard his name;
"Come Power, Come Cherubs, Come Virtues, Come Raphael,
Come Thrones and Dominions, come Michael and Gabriel;
Now fly to the Earth, where My poor people live,
Announce the glad tiding My Son comes to give."
The Shepherds were watching their flocks on this night,
And saw in the heavens an unearthly light.
The Angels assured them, they'd nothing to fear,
It's Christmas they said, the Saviour is here!
They hastened to find Him, and stood at the door,
Till Mary invited them in to adore.
He was swaddled in bands from His head to His feet,
Ne'er did the Shepherds see a baby so sweet!
He spoke not a word, but the shepherds all knew,
He was telling them secrets and blessing them too;
Then softly they left Him, The Babe in the hay,
And rejoiced with great joy on that first Christmas Day.
Mary heard them exclaim as they walked up the hill,
"Glory to God in the Highest, Peace to men of good will!"
The Cross - Kenneth R. Overberg
First, let's return to the shadow of the cross. Because the life, death and resurrection of Jesus make up the foundation of Christianity, the Christian community has long reflected on their significance for our lives. What was the purpose of Jesus' life? Or simply, why Jesus?
The answer most frequently handed on in everyday religion emphasizes redemption. This view returns to the creation story and sees in Adam and Eve's sin a fundamental alienation from God, a separation so profound that God must intervene to overcome it. The Incarnation, the Word becoming flesh, is considered God's action to right this original wrong. Redemption, then, is basically understood as a "buying back."
How did this view develop? Just as we do when we face tragedy, especially innocent suffering, so the early followers of Jesus tried to make sense of his horrible death. They asked: Why? They sought insight from their Jewish practices like Temple sacrifices and from their Scriptures.
Certain rites and passages (the suffering servant in Isaiah, psalms of lament, wisdom literature on the suffering righteous person) seemed to fit the terrible events at the end of Jesus' life and so offered an answer to the why question. Understandably, these powerful images colored the entire story, including the meaning of Jesus' birth and life.
Throughout the centuries, Christian theology and piety have developed these interpretations of Jesus' execution. At times God has even been described as demanding Jesus' suffering and death as a means of atonement-to satisfy and appease an angry God. In many forms of theology, popular piety and religious practice, the purpose of Jesus' life is directly linked to original sin and all human sinfulness. Without sin, there would have been no need for the Incarnation.What Is Christmas? by Shawneese Smith - Tulsa, Oklahoma
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. Some people celebrate Christmas differently, but it is all based upon the birth of Christ. Christmas is on December 25th. This is the day that Jesus is said to be born. Nobody really knows the exact date Jesus was born. Yet, in 137 AD, the Bishop of Rome ordered the birthday of The Christ child be celebrated as a solemn feast. In 350 AD, another Roman Bishop named Julius I, choose December 25th as the observance day of Christmas (The Mass of Christ).
People celebrate Christmas differently form one another. For example, my family celebrates Christmas by decorating our entire house. We also exchange gifts, go to church, and cook a big dinner. Even though we do all these things, we remember the "true" meaning of Christmas - To Celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ.
In conclusion, though people celebrate Christmas in different ways throughout the world, I learned to celebrate Christmas from my family and church.Christmas Day - by Orla
On the last day of school, I always give out Christmas presents and cards to my teacher and my friends in class. We always have a party the last day of the term and we play games.
When school is over we usually go down town and finish our Christmas shopping. Then we go home and have our dinner and we go to bed. The next day we go down town as it is Christmas eve and we see all the Christmas lights and there is always carol singers on the street. We sometimes meet our friends and go for coffee. At around 6 pm we go home to get tea for our dad. When he comes home we open some presents that our friends have given us. At 9 we go to mass and when we go home we get our snacks for Santa ready.
The next day is Christmas day. At 9 am we get up and we go downstairs to take the goodies Santa has left for us. At 12 we go to our granny and grandads house for few hours and then we go home. At 2 some of our relations come over and we get some more presents. At 7 we go for a walk around town and when we come back and we get ready for bed. We have a drink and we go to bed.