Snow, sleigh rides, silver bells, decorated trees, family gatherings. With just the mere mention of any of these, I immediately think of the Christmas season. Like many people, I really enjoy the commercial part of Christmas.
I love making those festive sugar cookies that never fail to be delicious, decorating my house with a billion colorful lights and wooden cutouts of Santa and his crew, and celebrating in the company of my loved ones. Christmas is a time of tradition within families, and I love the yearly ritual of celebrating the holiday with all of its bells and whistles.
While I may enjoy the holiday to its full commercial extent, a lot of Christians within the last few years have openly criticized Christmas. While that may seem contradictory, let me explain. A lot of followers of the Christian faith have claimed that Christmas, as the commercial holiday that many know and love, is not a proper observation of the true Christmas, which is the day that is meant to celebrate the birth of Christ. They argue that celebration of the holiday has rejected its original intent and that it is now a day of greed that focuses on the exchange of gifts. Those on this side of the debate make a good point that a lot of people, especially those that do not identify themselves as followers of Christ, put almost all of their focus on giving and receiving presents on Christmas. While I understand how this can make a lot of Christians upset, I think that the gift exchange aspect of Christmas may not be completely opposite the real reason for the holiday.
First of all, without a doubt, Christ is the best gift that mankind will ever receive. According to Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As Ephesians 2:8 states, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”
God sent Jesus to show us the ultimate demonstration of love through His sacrifice on the cross. As mere human beings, we will never be capable of sharing that much love, but as Christians, it should be a part of our mission to express as much love and compassion as we possibly can. However, because we are merely human, we tend to have much more success in expressing love through smaller gestures, instead of giant miracles.
One doable way that we can show our love for others is through giving gifts. If someone receives something that he or she has really desired, that person will probably feel very happy and loved. Giving presents to others is an expression of love. Therefore, the Christmas that so many Christians criticize is actually a proper way to celebrate Christ because it requires us to love on those around us. We can even show love to others by shopping through organizations such as SEED, which collaborates “with artisans using their handcrafting skills to overcome poverty, slavery, and/or disability to create sustainable livelihoods that are giving new life to individuals and families.”
While it may be on a much smaller scale, giving to others demonstrates love. What better way is there to celebrate the birth of the ultimate lover, Jesus Christ, than to wholeheartedly love those around us? Honoring Christ, His love, and His sacrifice is best done through loving and serving others, which is still very much done through today’s commercialized Christmas holiday.
Anna Finch is a junior at Greenville University where she serves as the executive vice president of the Greenville Student Government Association. She plays on the women’s volleyball team and recently was named the Player of the Year by the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.