Out of the mouths of my babes…
I asked each of my boys, “What is the meaning of Christmas?”
AJ (5): Jesus’ birth
CJ (4): It’s good, and there’s snow, and we get presents.
JJ (2): Yights (translation: lights) and (pausing as he searched his 2 year old vocabulary) points to the gifts under the tree
As I reflected on my boys’ replies, I was reminded of how we parents try to teach a lot through words, but end up teaching more through actions. Which is truly a good thing, but can feel like a large responsibility at times. So, I was led to think about what Christmas means to me and how that spills over into what my children believe Christmas means.
The meaning of Christmas has changed and deepened for me over the years, and will likely continue to do so. As a young child, I knew the real meaning of Christmas as summed up by AJ above, but in my heart, I was with my little JJ and his gesture at the gifts under the tree. Christmas meant PRESENTS! And, oh, how I longed for Christmas day when I could open my gifts. My wonderful and wise parents always read the Christmas story from Luke 2 prior to opening gifts as a reminder of the true meaning of the day.
As I grew into my teen years and accepted Christ as my personal Savior, Christmas became less about presents and more about Jesus and His birth. Christmas also came to be a special time with family around a table full of delicious food.
When I think about what Christmas means to me now, I would say that Christmas is indeed about Jesus’ birth, but it is more than that to me. It is about Jesus’ choice to step down from His heavenly throne into our world the same way we all enter the world. It is about the love that it took to make such a choice. Love that left all to know what is like to be man. Love enough to come knowing that the end of the physical life began at Christmas was going to be a cruel Roman cross. Christmas reminds me that He came for me.
As a mom, Christmas also reminds me of the joy of new birth. I have said to some friends recently that I think with the birth of each of my children, I realize more and more what a miracle birth is. Some of that is due to growing older and hearing more stories from other people that didn’t experience the healthy birth of a child. But, I think it is also God’s way of reminding me anew that birth is truly a miracle and reason to celebrate. I think Mary and Joseph were caught up in all the normal emotions of having a child. I think they counted his fingers and toes, traced his cheeks, and snuggled Him close while they marveled at the miracle of His birth and wondered what it all meant.
As you look forward to this Christmas week, reflect on not just what you say Christmas means, but what your life says Christmas means. As I thought more about my boys’ responses, I can say with CJ, that Christmas is “good.” It is full of good things – a Savior for the world, family, presents, food, peace, decorations, lights, joy, and the list goes on!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
Independent Field Representative