Christmas can be a very confusing time. After all, we are expected to go out and buy presents, and to meet up with family and friends. We are also encouraged to get into the mood, by drinking and eating far too much. We have parades, and we sing carols. And on top of that we tell our poor that all of that is necessary—and even provide handouts to perpetuate such expectations.

Now I don’t know whether I am too cynical, but it seems to me, that we have it all wrong. Christmas should not be about presents or food, or parades. And it shouldn’t necessarily be about meeting up with family and friends—although that is good to do at any time of the year. Christmas should be about the birth of Jesus, and about responding to God’s gift of grace.

If we have a parade, then, it shouldn’t be Santa who everyone has come to see, but Jesus. We shouldn’t be singing carols about Santa, mistletoe or ivy, but about God’s son. Our poor may indeed need our help, but they may also need relief from the expectations that are placed on them. And they, like us, need to be told the story of Jesus’s birth, and have it explained why it was all necessary.

As Christmas approaches, then, on what is our focus? Is our focus on food and drink, and even spending time with family and friends? Or is it on an encounter with Jesus? Christmas may well be a confusing time, but to which “true” meaning of Christmas are we preparing to celebrate this year?

Posted: 8th December 2016
© 2016, Brian A Curtis