Have you ever wondered about the true meaning of Christmas?
Many Americans celebrate Christmas. To most Americans, Christmas is centered around Santa Claus and is a time of family, gifts, lights, joy, decorations, and singing.
Is Christmas about Santa Claus? No, that’s not how Christmas started off. Christmas was originally celebrated to commemorate the birth of Christ.
Christmas has become highly commercialized. Over time, sometime in the 20th century, it started to become more of a secular holiday.
Let’s learn about the true message of Christmas.
What is the true message of Christmas?
The true message of Christmas is centered on Christ. Christmas literally means “Christ’s mass”.
So, what is the reason for Christmas? In short, the reason for Christmas is Jesus. The real Christmas story is about God who took on flesh and came down to earth to save His people.
Christmas is commemorating the birth of our savior. At times, you’ll see nativity scenes that display the birth of Christ around Christmas. Usually, these scenes include baby Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in a manger setting.
The book of Luke tells the story of how Jesus was born. That’s where these nativity scenes pull from.
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:4-7 ESV).
Matthew also fills us in on other aspects of the story. In chapter 2 of Matthew, we are told about the wise men who come to visit and see Jesus after he’s born (Matthew 2:1-12).
The wise men saw a star rise and knew Jesus, the king of the Jews, had been born. They came to Jerusalem to find Jesus. Herod, the king, heard about this. He was concerned because he didn’t want someone taking over his throne. Because of his concern, he asked them where Jesus was supposed to be born. They told him he was going to be born in Bethlehem. Herod made a plan to have the wise men go and find Jesus and report back to him. He told the wise men that he would worship Jesus as well, but that wasn’t true. Herod was plotting to kill him. When the wise men found Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, they were overjoyed. They worshiped Jesus and gave him gifts – gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The wise men were warned not to return to Herod in a dream, so they went back to their country and avoided him.
This is a paraphrased version of what happened, so I encourage you to read the story from the Bible. But this is the real story of Christmas.
How did Santa Claus become part of Christmas?
You’ve probably heard of him before, but who is St. Nick? And how did he become part of Christmas?
The concept of Santa Claus comes from a saint in the Roman Catholic church. He was known as Nicholas of Myra and was born in the third century. He was a rich man who gave to the poor and needy. He loved children and often gave them gifts. He was known as someone who gave joy to children through his generosity.
He became well known in England and Holland. Eventually, immigrants brought the idea of Christmas to America in the 17th century. Santa Claus picked up traction and eventually became the main focus of Christmas for many Americans.
How to Meditate on the True Message of Christmas
The true message of Christmas is centered on Christ, not Santa Claus. Christmas should be a time we remember and celebrate our savior being born and coming to save his people out of his great love.
It’s easy to get distracted by the commercialized Christmas in America. Here are a few ways to meditate on the true message of Christmas.
#1 Read about the birth of Christ during this season.
During the season of Christmas, choose to meditate on the birth of Christ. You can choose to do this everyday, or start off small with 2-3 times a week. Setting an intentional specific time helps make it a priority. This is a busy season and it’s easy to leave things on the backburner.
A good way to meditate upon the birth of Christ is to reread the birth story (found in Matthew 2 and Luke 2). As you reread the story, see if you notice anything new that you hadn’t noticed before. Think more about what it must’ve been like for Jesus.
#2 Go through a Christmas Bible reading plan.
Another way to focus on Jesus during this Christian season is to go through a Christmas Bible reading plan. The YouVersion Bible App has many reading plans available. All you have to do is use their discover feature on the app to search for whatever you’re looking for.
Type in “Christmas” and then click on the plans tab. You’ll find lots of good options. Bible reading plans vary in length. Plans typically vary anywhere between 3 days to a month.
#3 Go through a Christmas devotional.
If Bible reading plans aren’t your thing, you could try a devotional. Devotionals are short daily readings that touch on a main point. They’re typically only a paragraph or two so it takes about 5 minutes to read.
Some Christmas devotional recommendations:
The true message of Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa Claus. Remember that this season is in the midst of holiday busyness. What do you do to stay focused on Christ? Let me know in the comments below.
I’ll leave you with this verse. Be encouraged.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23 ESV).
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