I have been asked on occasions if I “celebrate” Christmas. I must admit that this time of the year has a special warmth about it. There is something special about the lights, busy shoppers, and the “holiday music.” Before you brand me as a heretic let me assure you that I do not believe the Jesus was born on Christmas Day, and even if He was born in the depth of winter (which He was not), there is nothing in the Scriptures that even hints that we should “celebrate” His birthday.
It has been more than ten years since I first came across the following article. I thought it worth sharing with our readers. Unfortunately I do not have the name of the author.
WHAT IS THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS?
The spirit of Christmas is kindness, tolerance for an unpleasant relative, allowing someone else to turn first at a busy intersection. It is smiling and saying something nice to a hurried clerk who has just been chewed out by an irate customer.
The spirit of Christmas is compassion, fod for hungry people, secret gifts for needy children, and spending part of your holiday time with a lonely person in a nursing home.
The spirit of Christmas is understanding, feeling the emptiness of someone who is spending her first Christmas without a husband who died recently. It is listening to the mixed-up musings of a teen-ager who has gotten into trouble or reaching out to someone whose personal anguish over a lost job or divorce has him on the brink of suicide.
The spirit of Christmas is sacrifice. It is children breaking piggy banks to buy gifts for their parents. It is someone missing a party to be with the rest of the family on Christmas Eve, or someone refusing to pass an unkind judgment or choosing to forgive an insult.
The spirit of Christmas is love, paying special attention to children, and still being thoughtful during the most hectic days of the year. It is doing something for someone who cannot repay you. It is kindness and compassion, understanding and sacrifice, and love. Not one of these is a “secular” virtue which arises naturally from humankind. They are primary spiritual qualities which have been exhibited best in this world by Jesus of Nazareth.
With all due respect to Santa Claus, he is not the one who brought us these gifts. Santa is reindeer and elves, snow and red cheeks, pretty packages and stockings from the mantle. Jesus is much, much more. Jesus was kind enough to befriend the people everyone else avoided. His compassion made him weep with Mary and Martha when the sisters’ brother had died. He understood fickle Peter and questioning Thomas. He sacrificed all personal ambition and eventually his life for the sake of others. His very name is synonymous with love.
The “spirit of Christmas” did not originate with Charles Dickens or Jimmy Stewart. They merely wrote and performed the Christmas spirit in artistic settings. This special sentiment is rooted in a religious tradition which changed the world. It is produced by our imitation of the Son of God. Whatever it is you like most about this season of the year cannot be perpetuated by carrying the wallet you get under the tree or wearing the cologne someone gives you. It will endure only for those who remember the Babe of Bethlehem year round and allow him to live in their hearts.
I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did. Let me close this week’s “Tom’s Pen” with a sincere wish for a Happy Holiday Season and best wishes for a Wonderful New Year.
Tom & Johnnie Ann Wacaster