They always said, “Keep Christ at the center of Christmas,” and every Christmas I really thought I did.
I kept reminding myself of what we were celebrating—the birth of our savior, and that if it wasn’t for Him we would all be screwed. But it wasn’t until recently that I really started to experience this first hand.
Christmas has been my favorite time of year ever since I was born. When I was young, I loved Christmas for Santa, the presents, and baby Jesus—not Jesus, “The Savior of the World,” but Jesus, the figurine in the manger…literally. My mom reminds me every year about how she could never find the baby Jesus figurine because I always stole it to play with my Transformers.
As I got older, I started loving Christmas for the amazing food, the family party games, and even better presents. It was in high school when I started to fall in love with the nostalgia of Christmas—sitting around a wood burning fire, the crisp snow falling outside, my granny’s brunches, grandpa’s dinners, the Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra Christmas records, and the Starbucks Christmas dates. These were the things I loved about Christmas, until about a year ago when it all started to change.
Last year my sister got married, changing the whole structure of my Christmas—it wasn’t just her and I anymore. The snow decided to stop falling in late December and Starbucks drinks got too expensive for a university student’s budget. After grandpa passed away, the extravagant family dinners started to dwindle, and now with my grandma unable to care for herself, this will be the first year without her morning brunches.
Christmas is slowly being stripped down from what I loved it for. No more snow, no more Starbucks, no more brunches, no more dinners. But is this really a bad thing? While this was all happening, I began to wonder why we practice these traditions in the first place. Why the family dinners? Why all these gifts? Are we just going through the motions for traditions sake? Are we just trying to satisfy the in-laws since it’s our turn to do Christmas? Or are we gathering together in community to celebrate the real reason behind Christmas?
As I’m growing older and everything is changing, I find that I’m only left with one thing: the figurine of baby Jesus. And I think it is here that He wants me. Christmas is about Christ, that’s it. True, all of these traditions are great and they contribute to the whole aura of family and relationship. But don’t let the parties and presents and food be why you celebrate Christmas, let them be how.