Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas is for the kids

I was asked the other day, what are my thoughts on "Christmas is for the kids."

After a couple of very opposite thoughts initially running through my head on this topic, I had to stop to give it some good thought.

And after a few days here I have to say... I don't know what that means.

Does that phrase mean that decorations, traditions, and all of the hooplah is done for the excitement children?

Does that mean that the important people to focus on at this time of year are children?

Does that mean that people should have a reality check about their Christmas wishlist and that it's more important to give to children at this time?

Does it mean that Christmas is a time that is magical to children and we should remember to make that special for them?

I guess I don't have a thought on the phrase since I don't know what it means.

Here is what I do think about Christmas. Christmas is not just a celebration of the birth of Christ, but what the birth represents. The birth represents the spiritual communion (intimate fellowship) we now have with God because of Christ.

Many people view Christianity as a religion full of do's and don'ts. In fact, many Christians also think they have to live a life that measures up to God's standards. This is something impossible for anyone to accomplish. Christ's birth is a celebration that He came as an ultimate sacrifice so that when God looks at us - He doesn't see how we fail at following the do's and don'ts. He sees Christ in us, Emmanuel.

Emmanuel - from Hebrew ʽimmānūʼēl, literally, with us is God

If Christ is Emmanuel - God with us, and if God is pleased with Christ - Mt. 3:17 ""This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."" God is then pleased with me, because of Christ.

I now can live free of having to try to please God, and live this way : "Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment."

Then after loving the Lord, I am now free to love others. "And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" Just as I now am free from an impossible list of standards that I cannot live up to by myself, I do not have to hold others to the same impossible list. I can love them for who they are, and love them because Christ loved them, because Christ is with them, because of Christ God is also pleased with them as He is with me.

This is a serious cause of celebration when you stop to think about it. We can receive God's approval, His gift of love and forgiveness through Christ, to be free, to have peace, to have a close relationship (communion = intimate fellowship) with God. In turn, we can have deeper, lasting, loving, peaceful relationships with others.

And when I stop to think about it, there is nothing more valuable in the whole world that I could teach my kids. So as much as I celebrate my new life in Christ - there is nothing more important at this time of year than to pass that on to my children.

So in that sense... I would agree. Christmas is for the kids.

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