Written By Immanuela Asa Rahadini, Singapore
I have always lived in countries that have only two seasons: dry and wet. So to me, December has always been about Christmas and cool, rainy days, making it the best time of the year.
Interestingly, what we know of Christmas involves snow, Santa Claus, reindeer, and Christmas trees. Of course, it is fun to see cute and fluffy snowmen in public spaces. However, as I grew up, I realized that this notion of Christmas was nothing more than a commercial strategy that companies employ to create the yuletide atmosphere to generate profits.
Retailers rake in huge earnings in the Christmas season. Shopping centers can double their revenues by holding Santa Claus meet and greets and decorating themselves with fake mistletoe and artificial snow to get consumers into the mood, so that they will empty their pockets. We too can fall into this trap, as we busy ourselves putting up excessive decorations and shopping extravagantly.
Sometimes, even these modern “traditions” get thrown out for something more trendy and marketable. Last year, when the “Frozen” fever was at its peak, snowmen were replaced by Olaf, and Santa Claus overshadowed by Elsa and Anna. This year, many decorations feature the Star Wars theme, as the latest fan movie gets extra billing. Next year, it will probably be another blockbuster movie.
All these may depict what is trending for the season, but none of them represents the true meaning of Christmas. The recent hoo-ha over Starbucks’ plain red cup reminded me that Christmas is more than just about wishes, decorations, and coffee cups with cool designs.
Christmas is not about worldly, temporal joy. As Christians, I believe that there are only two things we should be focused on: Jesus, and the salvation of mankind. That’s all. If our celebrations are not Christ-oriented, how different are we from non-believers?
To get a sense of the awe and joy that Christmas should evoke in us, let’s go back to the very first Christmas. Then, the shepherds came to Bethlehem to worship the newborn Jesus. Later, the wise men would bring presents for Him. They were joyful and thankful because they recognized that a Savior had been born. They were thrilled by His birth.
Christmas is not just another celebration. It is the ultimate celebration of the eternal gift of Jesus Christ to sinners—us. His birth redefines our lives eternally. This Christmas, let’s spend time being witnesses to the joy of His birth to the world. Let’s prepare our hearts for His second coming, and spend time bonding with our families and helping the homeless.
Let’s celebrate Christmas humbly and joyfully welcome the Savior into our hearts. May this Christmas be a Christ-filled one. Blessed Christmas!