Theme: “Light of Christmas” By: Owl City, Feat. Toby Mac
Quote: “Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”
― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
“When I sat down to write something for Christmas I began to ask this question. ‘Have I figured out what Christmas is all about?’ What prompted this question was an amazing song by Owl City and Toby Mac called “Light of Christmas” (https://youtu.be/boE2kR7gQKw).
There are many people who have different answers to what ‘Christmas is all about’. Charity, gift giving, Santa Clause, flying reindeer, snow, receiving gifts, and of course the baby Jesus and the Nativity. So the question becomes, what answers are right? What answers are wrong? Are there wrong answers or is it only what it means to each individual?
The answer to that is very simple. Yes and No. First we should breakdown what Christmas is. Now I’m not going to tear down Christmas by listing all the paganism that exists within it. Sorry cynics, but that isn’t what’s important. If you want to research where the origin of the choice of December 25th came from, (Not Jesus’ true Birthday by the way, sorry but shepherds wouldn’t be in the fields during winter). You can also research the origin of the tree, the gift giving and Saint Nicolas. That’s not what Christmas is all about.
You see to find the real origin you have to go back further than the ‘official’ declaration of the day. To do that you need to look at the Jewish culture. (Which pre-dates/negates those pagan practices). Sadly a story that most are not aware of. Jews and Catholics are probably the most informed about its origin. That’s right the true story of Hanukah. Without spending hours writing about it the short and simple part is that a family of Jews, most commonly referred to as the Macabees. Feel free to read more here. (http://www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah/article_cdo/aid/102978/jewish/The-Story-of-Chanukah.htm)
During this time this particular family had fought hard to at last return to the temple. When they entered, they saw it had been desecrated and horrible abominations performed within it. They set to clean and re-sanctify The Holy Temple. When they went to light the sacred golden menorah however, they only had enough oil for one day. The problem was, there is a very specific recipe and process to the making of this particular oil. Not just any oil would do, and the process would take about eight days to complete. Despite this they lit the menorah and began the process, a miracle took place when the one day supply of oil lasted for eight days.
To this day it is a celebration of God’s provision and a festival to celebrate light. Now some of you may ask why I go back to a holiday that is not held on the 25th of December. In fact depending on the year, the eight day long festival might not even be held in December at all. However, if you look at the Bible and see when Jesus was said to be born. Even though we don’t have an exact date leading historians and theologians estimate he was born during Sukkot or commonly referred to as the Feast of Booths, (aka Tabernacles). This would be why there was no room at the Inn since Sukkot is one of the big three leading festivals of the Jews that God requires an offering.
The symbolism of Jesus being born on a festival that in essence is prophetically celebrating the time that God will dwell (Tabernacle) with us for all eternity is undeniable, but if you look at this holy day, look at the fact that Jesus Died on Passover, that the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples on Pentecost, is it really that much of a stretch to believe that he fulfilled a few more High Holy days?
Rewind the nine months from Tabernacles and interestingly enough you reach Hanukah. Now the celebration is about light is it not? Miraculous provision of light in fact. Well if that’s when the angel spoke to Mary, then that was when the ‘Light of the world’ came into the earth. Since life does start at conception. (And those that are uncertain simply read the Rest of the account in Luke 1-2, Mary right after goes to see Elizabeth and her six month old baby leaps in the womb at Jesus presence).
So what is Christmas all about? Gifts? Santa? Trees and Decorations? Yes and no. Those are a part of Christmas, but they are not what it’s ‘all about’. Light is the answer. The truest and most pure of origin, is about light and miracles. That is what Christmas is all about.
For those of you who may say, but Hanukah isn’t held on the 25th so its pagan and we shouldn’t celebrate it!’ Actually, depending on the calendar many times Christmas occurs during Hanukah, but this year (2016) is very special as the first night of Hanukah and Christmas coincide. They are held on the exact same day. So don’t let your light be stolen, tearing down what’s wrong with traditions of Christmas, instead let God ‘light you up, and finally figure out what Christmas is all about!’
In the end it’s not what’s wrong with something, but what’s right with it. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Instead look at those lovely Christmas lights, think back on the miracles that have happened to you and others. That is what this time is about. To celebrate and bring light and miracles right to the front of our eyes. To not forget just how beautiful and wonderful this time of year is. If we will let it.