Did you know that it is possible to “miss Christmas” while still being healthy and alive during the season? We could easily describe missing something as failing to access a reality. But another angle sees the verb “to miss” as failing to appreciate or understand something. You may recall your middle or high school teacher saying, “you are missing the point,” as a response to your answer to a question. When you don’t get it, you miss it!
As a child, I understood Christmas more from the prevalent opinions of my socializing environment. Then we knew Christmas was approaching through the television, radio, and print media adverts and jingles that serve to persuade people to start shopping for Christmas even as early as late October.
From the standpoint of the Church, I learned that Christmas celebrates the historical event of the birth of Jesus Christ. But I didn’t get to know the significance of the nativity with the shepherds and the wise men surrounding Mary and Joseph and the infant Jesus strategically placed as the nativity cynosure. Of course, the Christmas decorations and singing were heart-warming. But did I miss Christmas then? Well, I didn’t get it, so I missed it!
What Christmas is not and what it is!
Christmas has suffered a lot of damage for a long time running. One of the degrading descriptions of Christmas sees it as a “holiday,” but it is not; it is rather a “Holy Day,” and the period around it is called “Holy Season.”
Christmas is not about the colorful lights and lofty decorations. Christmas is all about the coming of the real light into the world. St. John’s introduction tells us that it is about the true light that gives light to everyone (John 1:9). It is not also about exotic red and green color decorations; it is about decorating our hearts with the colors of righteousness.
Christmas is not all about giving and receiving cards and gifts items. Don’t get me wrong. It is beautiful to give and receive at Christmas; I stand at both ends. However, on the platform of the ideal nature of Christmas, the first gift is from God to us: His Son, Jesus Christ. And the second gift should come from us to God, and that is our hearts where Jesus is to be born at Christmas.
Christmas is not about Father Christmas (aka Santa Claus), the jolly good fellow with a sack of gifts. Instead, Christmas is more about the Father of Christmas; God the Father who graciously gave His only Son (John 3:16), the greatest of all gifts that came not in a sack but a holy vessel, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Let’s Get it and not Miss Christmas
A family gathered at the Christmas tree on the eve of Christmas to open their gifts. Everyone was excited as they opened their presents and exchanged hugs, but not the baby of the house, Ben, who looked very sad.
“Ben, what’s the matter with you; you don’t like your gifts?” The dad inquired. “I love them!” Ben replied. “So why are you looking so sad? Do you want to spoil our Christmas, do you?” Ben’s mom asked. Walking away and turning around, Ben shocked everyone by saying, “Christmas cannot be any worse than it is now; there is no gift for baby Jesus; it is his birthday!”
As anyone may conclude, Ben’s statements are not childish; instead, they are reasonable. Christmas is not about us; it is about Jesus Christ, whom the Father sent to become one of us.
Now, there is nothing new in the life of God except the incarnation. So, the Word becoming flesh was an exceptional event in the eternal structure of God. On this day, the heavens stood still. Angels were in awe as God took the humblest decision to be borne by a woman. A creature becomes the mother of the one through whom all things made were made (John 1:3).
When we go back to the narrative of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we discover that it was all about God; Word that became flesh (John 1:14). The angels sang a new song “glory to God in the highest and peace to men of goodwill (Luke 2:14). The shepherd and the wise men from the east journeyed to see the newborn child.
So, do we get it now? Of course, we should get it now and not miss it. Significantly Christmas is not about us; it is all about the newborn King and his eternal mission of our redemption.
Finally, go and take a closer look at the nativity scene whenever you can. You will discover that all the individuals, even the animals, kept their eyes on the Holy One lying in the manger. So, let’s get it now! Keep your eyes on Jesus at Christmas, or you miss Christmas.
Merry Christmas, and may God bless you!