The Meaning of Christmas

A couple of years ago, I got the opportunity to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) live in concert down in Greenville, SC.  As it was their Christmas concert, the first half of the show was a story, in which an angel was searching for the meaning of Christmas.  (note: the story can be found on their CD, The Lost Christmas Eve

Many of us search for the meaning of Christmas, but often are confused by all the traditions.  It’s the old saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees.”  We are surrounded by what society believes is Christmas, that we have lost the story that came from Faith. 

In the Children’s Mass (Catholic service) this afternoon (Christmas Eve Service) the priest stated that everything about Christmas pointed towards Christ.  The Christmas Tree, an evergreen, represents the tree of life, which is the cross, the Crucifix.  The lights represent the light of the world, which is Christ Jesus.  The ornaments that adorn our trees represent the gifts and virtues that God has passed down to us.  The white snow, purity.  The presents, the sacrifice of the Son of God. 

All this is good, but I think we have missed the point.  We are taking things that society has deemed about Christmas and making them symbols.  In short, we are making excuses. 

What is the meaning of Christmas, you ask, if all our decorations, our trees, our presents, our lights, our festivities have nothing to do with it?  Why am I being a spoil sport for all the kids?  Let me ask this: What has any of this (Santa, the decorated tree, the lights, the candy and sugar treats) have to do with the Christian Faith?

Christmas is a celebration of faith.  Christmas is about the birth of Christ and his entrance into the world as a child, fully God and fully human.  It is a celebration because the Kingdom of Heaven came down to us.  Christmas is about God and his gift to the world, his one and only son. 

In Christmas, we see a celebration of family.  We witness the sacrifice of Joseph and Mary, and the love they had, not only for one another but for God.  We see their willingness to lay down their own plans and follow God, the ultimate example of Faith. 

The meaning of Christmas is the coming of Jesus into the world.  The beginning of a redemption.  An example for the world to follow.  The word made flesh. 

As you open your presents and spend time along side family and friends, remember the gift that is the cause for your celebration; the child, Jesus of Nazareth.  Find him no longer in the manger, nor on the cross, but within your heart.  It is there that you will discover faith. 

God Bless and PEACE

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