What does Christmas mean to you?

1st of December

I live in Sweden and it is quite dark here right now. The sun is only up for a few hours and we have had a lot of rain and the weather has been gloomy. One has already started with Christmas decorations and you can see stars and baskets, hearts and most of all: Santa Clauses. We have placed some small candles in the windows and that makes it quite cozy at this time of the year.

There are many people disliking this time of the year since it is so dark. One is longing for snow since that makes everything brighter. I think that the dark can make people depressed. I think it is symbolically as well since darkness is connected with the devil and the light with Jesus.

I like all the lights and the stars that are light up everywhere, in the homes, on the streets and in the shops, but are they the real Christmas and what about the Santa Claus?

Many are thinking about traditions when they think about Christmas. Families all over the world have different traditions in connection with Christmas. There are places that are ignorant about the reason for celebrating Christmas, but other countries connect Christmas with the Christians. If one should ask people in Sweden what they think of when they think of Christmas, many would say Santa Claus, ham, gifts, Christmas tree, parties and some would say vacation. What would you say?

The time before Christmas can be very stressful for many. One might have to go to several celebrations as a closing of the season. Cards should be sent and just think of all the Christmas gifts that one needs to buy. Can we afford them? Some people clean their house and change curtains. Just think of all the food that are needed and the Christmas tree that is getting more expensive every year. Do I have all the decorations that I want? There might be discussions about whom to celebrate with. Is it acceptable to be home this year? Those working in shops and in restaurants are often so tired when Christmas comes, that the only thing they can think of is a bed to sleep in. Do you think Jesus came to make people stressed and worn out? No, He came to give people Peace.

Christmas Eve is the birthday of Jesus even if I do not believe that He was born exactly on the 24th of December 2012 year ago. Still, it is His birthday that we celebrate. I am so conscious of this that I ask Him what He desires for his birthday. My daughters still remember that there was a gift underneath the tree addressed to Jesus. It was usually a gift of money to some needy persons. My daughter asked Jesus last year about His wishes and she was asked to dance to some praise and worship songs in an old-age home. She obeyed Him and got permission to do so. Jesus says that whatever we do for one of His least, we do for Him. (Matt.25:40)

Jesus wants us to be His witnesses and Christmas is a fantastic time to testify about Him. In India the Christians are allowed to testify about Jesus at this time even if it isn’t so popular during the rest of the year. This varies from place to place. It is very popular to arrange Christmas drama, Christmas carols and Christmas music. I have attended some arrangements like this and many unsaved are attending and they also get something good to eat. I am sure that this is done in many other countries as well. One presents the message of Christmas without having a regular meeting. I think this is great as long as one doesn’t compromise with the central message. We must always be clear about sin and grace and proclaiming Jesus as the Savior of the world. He is not only a sweet little baby lying in a manger. He came to this world as a baby conceived by The Holy Spirit. He was a true human being as well as the Son of God. This is a mystery for most of all. We have to accept it by faith.  

Many of us meet family members that we do not meet so often during this season and some of those might not be believers. We are not meant to destroy the atmosphere by entering into arguments, but it is a wonderful possibility for telling people what Jesus has done for you last year. If you can’t think of anything, I really think you must ask The Holy Spirit to open your spiritual eyes. We really haven’t been asked to do anything else than telling what we have seen and heard. Our own testimonies are definitely the most effective, but we can also share testimonies from others. People are so good in saying: “have you heard?” and then they come with some gossip. We can come with some “gossip” stories as well, but these are true and noble.

I have often wondered why Santa Clause has become so popular. One reason must be that he comes with gifts. He usually asks: “Do we have any kind children here?” He doesn’t give gifts out of unconditional love, but asks us if we are kind. Santa Claus is a very popular figure all over the world. He has become a substitute for the One who loves unconditionally. Why do people believe in Santa Clause more than Jesus? This is really one of the devil’s tricks.

Some non-believers can have a manger with the sweet child of Jesus in. That little child is not so dangerous. What is so dangerous about Jesus? Many can talk about God, but avoid talking about Jesus. The truth is that no one comes to the Father except they have received Jesus as their Savior. It might be humiliating to admit that one can’t come to God by their efforts or by their own deeds. Many refuse to say that they are sinners in great need of grace. They might say: “We all make some mistakes. That is only natural.”

Back to baby Jesus. Without Jesus coming to the earth as a baby, it would not have been a Jesus hanging on a cross, carrying all our sins, sicknesses and won a victory over the evil one.

It is the same Jesus lying in a manger who was hanging on a cross. He was our atonement.

Christmas for me is Jesus. We are reminded of His birth. His birth ended one area of history and another one started. We are actually saying before and after Christ. I am not thinking so much about a baby, but One who lives and One who has given me possibilities beyond my imagination. I have inherited His name and can declare people well in that name. He has given me a free ticket to heaven. Jesus has promised to be with me every day and I am very thankful for that. He has won a victory over the devil and I have received His authority to get rid of his power over my life. I have been placed in the kingdom of Light and I do not need to be in darkness any longer. When the Son has set you free, you are really free. (John 8:36) I am free on account of Jesus and I do not need to fear since He loves me with an everlasting love. Nothing can separate me from His love. (Rom.8:35) He broke the curse of poverty and I do not need to be poor any more. Jesus has done all this and much more for us. Why do not people want to receive all this as a Christmas gift?

Many have not heard about Him and others have not understood how fantastic He is. They think that they must follow a lot of rules and regulations if they call themselves Christian. No one needs to call themselves Christian, but one can receive Jesus as a gift and follow Him in His foot-steps. I meet people who call themselves Christian, but they do not want to be a disciple of Jesus. A disciple wants to be like his master.

I look forward to keep contact with family and friends through letters and gatherings. I am not against Christmas tree, good food and gifts, but all this is only part of the birthday celebration.