We are celebrating Christmas a little differently at our house this year. Oh, there is still the tall tree standing in front of the living room windows, decorated with ornaments and tinsel. Christmas cards hang near the dining room doorway, and a green wreath greets visitors at our door.
But look a little closer. This year for the first time, there are no Santa Clauses. No jolly elves in red and green, No “ho, ho, ho’s” or Santa hats.
Yet the tree is more beautiful than I have ever seen it. There are ornaments of gold and silver, some with Nativity scenes adorning them, others with words such as “Joy,” “Peace”, and my favorite, “Christ Is Born.”
There are various crosses in gold hanging throughout the green branches. And several angels also take their places among the twinkling lights. Here and there are animal ornaments…no red-nosed reindeers, but rather a stately eagle in full flight, and a dove with an olive branch in its mouth. There are also two special decorations that stand out as well…a bear and a wolf. These are not cute “cartoon” characters, but, rather, realistic representations of God’s creatures, placed loving on the tree by our youngest son to honor His creations.
On an antique table near the tree is set up a porcelain Nativity scene. It is new this year as well. A stuffed Santa Claus used to occupy that space on many Christmases past. But the simplicity of that tableau in gold and white is more beautiful than any decoration that ever sat there.
The Christmas cards we mailed this year were different as well. They wish the recipients, family and dear friends, business acquaintances, teachers, church members and others, a “wonderful celebration of His love this Christmas.”
No , we are not trying to be “Scrooges”. No, we do not think we are taking the fun out of Christmas. Rather, we are putting something INTO Christmas. We are putting Christ into this celebration. After all, is not that what Christmas is supposed to be all about?
Yet, how often have we forgotten the real meaning of this blessed day as we rush to buy gifts for everyone on our lists, spending money we perhaps cannot afford to spend? And how often have we given the glory of the day to a fairy tale…a man in a red suit? When it is in reality a babe in a manger that we should be honoring.
Oh yes, our family has done the “Santa Claus thing” for many years, and never really thought much of it. We thought we were actually celebrating Christmas. We have, like many of you, given in to the commercialism of Christmas. But this year, we decided it was past to celebrate the TRUE meaning of the day…the birth of Jesus Christ, the baby in the stable who grew up to be the boy teaching others of His Father’s words, and then became the Man on the Cross, taking upon Himself the sins of the world so that others might be born again.
That is the true meaning of Christmas Day. And that is the meaning my family and I will celebrate from now on.
Won’t you join us?