I live in a household of word-lovers. Conversations are thick with puns and other creative word play as we try to find new ways to express common ideas. Popular books and movies have given us a rich vein of new terminology to mine.
So, it wasn’t too unusual for me to announce to my son the other day that I was planning to dematerialize Christmas this year. His predictably melodramatic response was, “No, Mom, no! You can’t make Christmas disappear!”
Of course, we both knew that I was merely beginning my annual oration about limiting gift lists and concentrating on the non-material aspects of the holiday. Part of my regular attempt to downplay the gifts and focus on The Gift.
As we were reminded by our minister in his sermon this morning, what we celebrate at Christmas is God’s gift of his son who came and died for our sins.
If you are a Christian, you may respond, “Well that goes without saying”….and, unfortunately, it does go without saying in many homes these days.
I’m not talking about the homes of those who are actively antagonistic or dismissive of Christianity. I am referring to the rest of us who for one reason or another have allowed the commercialism and sentimentality of the season to push its true meaning to the side.
It might make us more appreciative of what Christmas means in the world today if we were to imagine what it would be like if I could “dematerialize” the historical event and we tried to see a world without the influence of Christianity. I once read an article that detailed the many ways Christianity has impacted the world for good. From the obvious fields of higher education and medicine, to law, government and science, much that we have today we owe to Christians and their beliefs.
We can observe countries where the Christian influence has been historically limited to get some idea of what the whole world might be like had Christ never been born.
That realization, alone, should be enough to make more of us take a few moments to really celebrate Christ’s birth.
Give gifts, have parties, bake cookies and decorate to your heart’s content, but please take just a few moments to remember why we celebrate and who it’s all about.