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Sunday, November 30, 2014

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS (AMENDED)


When we celebrate Christmas we think of the exchanging of gifts which many times entails the mad rush of people in stores to purchase gifts for those they care about. In addition we think of Christmas time as being a season of joy, of peace, and of love; when Christmas Day arrives, children arise early to rush to the Christmas tree bedecked with beautiful ornaments and lit with scores of lights intertwined among the branches, in order to open the packages from their parents, relatives and Santa Claus with expressions of glee that can only be evoked by children. In a Christian family, the parents and children may attend religious services to  celebrate the birth of a baby named Jesus in a manger 2000 years ago. In a non-Christian family, just as in the Christian family, a Christmas party involving the celebration of friends and family with the exchanging of gifts is of great importance.

Many times, after Christmas has passed, there is a mix of feelings ranging from great satisfaction in having a successful Christmas celebration to a feeling that all the effort put into having a great celebration has been tiring and now it’s time to get on with other things that are of everyday concern and importance. In other words to some people Christmas is simply a time for celebration of family and friends and not much thought of a deeper nature is given the experience.  For some, Christmas Is a time of sadness and pain because of dark thoughts of loss of friends, family or desires not accomplished that cannot be compensated for by some great party of celebrants full of laughter while having a jolly time. It is said that not just a few commit suicide during this time because of the sadness in their hearts and minds.

Having a perspective on the true meaning and importance of Christmas can be a help in making the experience of celebrating Christmas more beneficial to those wanting a good experience of Christmas.

A good place to start is in the beginning, with the Genesis account in the Old Testament of the failure of the first man and woman God created to perfectly fulfill the plan God established for them. Adam and Eve were put out of a garden of paradise into our world of suffering and pain because of this; But God promised them a Savior who would restore them and all their descendants for all time to God's favor lost by their failure.

That Savior is Jesus Christ who was born just over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem of Judea; this is the first Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the son of God, whose mission was to sacrifice his life on a cross to restore man's favor with God lost by Adam and Eve. Jesus, through his perfect sacrifice is known as the second Adam, because he fulfilled the plan which Adam and Eve did not.

So the real meaning of Christmas is the joyous celebration of the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. We celebrate his birth given by his mother, the virgin Mary, who was greatly graced by God, in the humble circumstances of a Manger surrounded by the various animals located there. He is visited by shepherds in the field who had been invited to see the newborn babe by a chorus of angels. He is also visited by the Magi, three Kings who had followed a star which led them to the babe in the manger.

Christmas is a time of great hope, that through our love and honor of God, we will share in his plan of peace and fulfillment during our time on earth and afterwards an eternal paradise of no more pain and suffering, but rather an eternal bliss wrapped in the love of God.