What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Published 12:12 pm Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas means many things to many people across the world. 

I was in a quandary about what to write about in this article and then it hit me: “What is Christmas?”

For many of us, it means so many memories that linger in our minds of Christmases past.

For some, Christmas is something they wish would hurry and be over with so life would go on as normal. 

For a small child who looks so forward to Christmas, they may wish the holiday lasted longer.

My grandson, Hayden Cecil, loves Christmas time. From the moment putting up the tree is mentioned, he is ready to help get Christmas started. He loves helping put the Christmas villages together. It has become a tradition for him to help me get Christmas started. I am not sure who enjoys it more, me or Hayden. Then, once the packages are put under the tree, he is perusing the packages to find his name on one. Christmas from the eyes of a child is precious to me.

That is actually where this article originated. At First United Methodist Church on Sunday morning, the Rev. Farley Stuart did the opening children’s program with the little kids seated at his feet. As he asked them about Christmas, two very precious kids knew exactly what Christmas should be about. One mentioned it was about the birth of Jesus and we celebrate his birthday at Christmas.

I knew this child understood the true meaning of Christmas. As the answers came from child to child, it was pretty much what you would expect from small children. However, one answer stayed with me the most from those kids. It was from a little girl who spoke up and said, “Christmas is about giving!”

It finally hit me I believe that is the true meaning of Christmas.

God gave us his gift in baby Jesus and we are to remember that year after year.  The wise men brought gifts on that holy night. We are to give gifts because of that. Now I knew we give gifts at Christmas because gifts were first brought to the Christ child, but the full impact of giving never touched me as much as this year. 

There are those who need so much. They need the gift of prayer to get through the season. I will never forget my daddy dying on Christmas Eve in 1986 within weeks of a failed 20-year marriage. I know others’ prayers got me through that tumultuous time in my life.

There are those who just need a hug or a smile to get through their days. Others may have family members who are very sick or gone and Christmas is not the same for them. Give them a call or send a card and let them know you care. 

Others are alone and scared. Others are broke and unable to reciprocate in gift giving, let them know their friendship is all you need from them.

Those who have had disasters, such as the fires in Gatlinburg or other places in the world that are suffering from war, all need our prayers. There are other needs — we all need something in our lives not one of us is exempt.

We all have something to give.

Let us strive to be patient while shopping and not to be so busy in our own lives; we do not think of others. I believe Winchester is typical of most towns in America. We have love in our hearts for others, but we are becoming more and more selfish with our time, talents and gifts. I think we are all guilty in one way or another.

My wish is that we all remember to say “Merry Christmas” with a heartfelt greeting and mean it wholeheartedly and not let it be a phrase to be said lightly. I do not like the phrase “happy holidays” because to me, that is the world’s way of trying to not emphasize what Christmas is truly about. I can never put Merry Xmas on anything either because X is for unknown and in Winchester, I hope Christ is always remembered.

Remember this year and every year the words of that little girl who has been taught what Christmas is all about — “Christmas is for giving.” 

To all of my readers and the world, I give you my love at Christmas and always.