What is the best Christmas gift you have ever received? For children, it could be the latest toy or game that they have been bugging their parents for. For youth, perhaps new clothes, new shoes, or even the latest handphone they have been eyeing. For adults, maybe a new piece of furniture, quality time with family, or simply, rest from their hectic work life.
As a youth, my Christmas wants include the new iPhone 6 Plus, a new top, and quality time with my loved ones. But a recent conversation with a friend got me rethinking where I had been placing my emphasis on.
– Me: Christmas is here again! I am so happy that Christmas is finally here after a year.
– Friend: What’s so nice about Christmas?
– Me: Just think of all the gifts you are going to receive—the cards and letters that your loved ones are going to write to you. More importantly, the wonderful time that you are going to spend with your loved ones during this season.
– Friend: Well, I beg to differ, I think that Christmas is too commercialized.
– Me: How so?
– Friend: I have a gift exchange with my friends and the budget we’ve set per gift is $40 because everything is so expensive during this season. While I agree with what you say about giving and receiving, I feel Christmas has become too commercialized. As for quality time with your loved ones, that’s good. This is a time where family and friends come together. But if the gathering only happens because it’s a public holiday, then the purpose is lost.
I nodded in silence as I thought through what my friend had said. I felt a sudden sadness as I realized the true meaning behind Christmas is often lost in our day and age. Its significance is muted by commercialization and at times, mindless traditions.
Christmas is the day we remember God gave us His Son. It was an intentional and deliberate act so that we can be reconciled with God. Not only did Jesus come to earth in the form of a man, He suffered, experienced temptations like us, and eventually bore our sins and took our place on the cross.
Let’s follow God’s example and be intentional this Christmas. For example, if we meet a group of friends who are unbelievers, let’s be intentional to reflect Christ in our actions or even share the gospel with them. If we are meeting friends who are believers, let’s make an extra effort to ensure that God is at the center of whatever we do and say.
This Christmas, how about challenging yourself to go beyond what you usually do? I don’t mean to stop all the gift exchanges and meetings but to be intentional in our gatherings with friends. And how about giving God a “free gift” of our own—a willing heart to obey and trust Him completely?
Have a very blessed Christmas!
By Chloe Pee