To many, Christmas means a wish for snow or gifts or parties. But what does Christmas mean, really? To me it means family, togetherness, and, most of all, the celebration of Christ's birth.
No, December 25 may not be the actual day of His birth, but since we don't know for sure the day, rather night, he was born, December 25 is as good a representation as any date. The weather the night the angels appeared was cool, even cold. In the area around Bethlehem, that time of year is quite cool to cold. Therefore the weather matches at least.
However, we know the where and why and the who. What else do we need to know?
The shepherds celebrated, but not by having a party or over imbibing. They celebrated by visiting the babe in the manger and worshiping Him. When the magi appeared some time later, they brought the first Christmas gifts and began the practice of giving to others.
We often make lists of all the "things" we would like to receive for Christmas, but do we look outside ourselves to discover what we can give to others? Yes, I like receiving as much as anyone does, even when I know there will be nothing in my stocking except my leg and nothing under the tree with my name, but I much more enjoy giving gifts to others, as much as I can. When I was younger, I gave time and services when I didn't have funds. Now, my body doesn't work well enough to do that, but I can still bake and make items to give.
Being with family is an important part of Christmas for me. Some day I hope all my family can and will be together on Christmas, without it being for a funeral. Until, and if, that day comes, I like spending the Christmas season with as much of my family as possible. Tuesday evening, we'll be at a granddaughter's with her family and her sister's family. We'll be with two granddaughters and their husbands as well as great-grandchildren.
Christmas Eve, I'll be in church, celebrating with my church family. Sometime Christmas day we will drive to the home of our youngest's wife's family to have dinner with good friends and part of the family.
Throughout the season, the sorrows that hide in the shadows will be pushed aside to celebrate the greatest gift to mankind -- Jesus Christ. I'm thankful.
Merry Christmas, everyone.