I’ve written about Thanksgiving and the holidays in general, as well as not waiting for life to slow down for you to slow down. Now we write about the culmination of the holidays for many people, Christmas. I know that New Year’s Eve is a week later, but that seems like it’s more about just having fun without so much to it.
I wrote in the post on Thanksgiving that I never really associated it with “giving thanks” until I was older, and I also said that I was in my early twenties before I equated Christmas with Jesus. As a kid, it was all about the presents. I grew up going to church most Sundays, but not on Christmas. Christmas to me was this magical day when we’d give and receive gifts. And as a kid, I’d receive a whole lot more than I’d give, so that was great.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve become fairly disgusted with the commercialization of Christmas, as many of us have. Don’t worry, though – I won’t go on a huge rant or anything. It’s pretty ridiculous, though. There’s the whole “comparison of toys” thing, too, that kids will naturally and innocently do. I feel bad for the families without much extra money, because I know that so many parents work so hard to make their kids feel good. And lots of people are experiencing tough financial times these days. I really wish we’d just scrap the whole Christmas thing and start over from scratch. That was a small rant, I guess…
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s just simplify the whole thing. An easy, healthy way of looking at Christmas is that it’s simply a time each year for people to relax, be nice to each other, and appreciate each other. That’s all. No big deal. Lots of us learn as children to make a big deal about the story of Jesus’ birth with the manger, the wisemen, the star, etc. These are details, not the essence. Details are literally nothing – they don’t matter. The essence is what matters. And a nice essence is as I said above – a time to relax, be nice to each other, and appreciate each other. Done.
Okay, I guess we should go ahead and address those details mentioned above, since we’re on the subject… I wasn’t around 2000 years ago, but I’m pretty sure that those details are a story and not at all what really happened. Just do some research for yourself. It’s a common story, though, that’s been passed down for way longer than 2000 years, way before the time of Jesus. It’s not unique at all. That’s what the evidence seems to say, anyway. Here’s my whole point, though – that literally doesn’t matter! If you take offense at this, then take a look at why. I’ll bet you’re believing some things that aren’t true. Those are outer details, and Jesus is all about the inner. Inner, inner, inner. We often put our focus in the wrong place here. We’ve learned to do that, and now we can unlearn it. I think one of Jesus’ main points was that the truth of who you are as a spiritual being (and not a temporary body) is inside of you. It’s available to you 24/7/365. Or 366 on a leap year, but who’s counting… This is some serious essence, and who cares what day he was born? Let’s laugh out loud if we ever thought that was important or thought that we had to defend it!
So that’s my take on Christmas and Jesus. Actually, I’m feeling a more detailed Jesus post in the future, but we’ll see. If this helps you relax some, that’s great. And if you hate me now, then that’s fine, too. Oh – one more thing while we’re on the subject. I have brothers, and we all decided to stop giving each other gifts years ago. Best thing we ever did! If you like the gift thing, then go with it – there’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with it. But if you don’t like it or if money is tight, then just be honest with the people in your life about that – it’s totally fine. They might even feel the same way.
Okay, I think we’re done now. So having said all that… Merry Christmas!