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What is the meaning of Christmas for you?

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Luke 2:10-14
New King James Version (NKJV)
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to think of some things to write about. With it being Christmas time, I wanted to do something about Christmas. The more and more I thought the less I seem to really be able to write. I had been thinking about what Christmas meant to me, and the only good memories were before I turned 9. You know the ones with family, presents, and a decorated tree. I hadn’t really enjoyed Christmas after the age of 9 because things had changed so much in my life at home, and it was never the same.

Growing up in church I had always known that Jesus was the true meaning and reason for Christmas, but bad memories often left a bitter taste in my mouth when trying to celebrate this time of year. In the last few years, I have spent more time with family that I didn’t really see a lot while growing up. It played a part in my changing the way I viewed Christmas. I began to see more of the good memories than the bad, and began to make new and good memories.

This year Christmas is completely different for me. I’m no longer the only one in my home. A beautiful 10 year old little girl is now part of my life. Teaching her that Christmas is about more than a tree or the gifts under it has been a wonderful thing for me. Teaching her that God sent his only son, Jesus, to Earth to save us, and that we are celebrating HIS birth, has brought so much joy into my life.

Out of curiosity one day I asked her what Christmas meant to her, and this is what she told me; “Christmas is about God and Jesus. God loves us so much that he sent his son, Jesus to be born just like one of us. He loved us so much that he was even willing to die for us. Christmas is full of love and giving. It is better for us to give to others that don’t have as much than it is for us to get gifts. Christmas is also about being with family.”

So, as I sat down and started to write this article, I thought to myself, why not ask others what Christmas means to them? So that is exactly what I did, and I wanted to share some of them with you.

“Christmas means treasured family memories and joy and peace that comes from the love of our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. All can be made well again, physically and spiritually, because of the gift of our Savior. It also means HOPE. Hope that things will work out and hope that I will see me loved ones again!” – Ann Marie, Utah

“Christmas means family, love, caring, giving, and good times. Anyone who comes through my door tomorrow will leave with a full stomach and mini cake with or without walnuts.” – Nancy, Texas

So tell me, what does Christmas mean to you? Is it full of fun, laughter and good times with friends or family with lots of good eats around? Or is it one that is full of loneliness, sadness and depression? Maybe you’re separated from your loved one because they are in the military. Maybe you’re surrounded by every single family member you can think of. Each and every one of us spends Christmas differently, as well as views it differently.

Laughter. As my sons are older they have gotten more humor about Santa traditions. Such as ‘hey mom, think you I mean Santa wants a Colorado Bulldog with the cookies.’ …Ha ha. Tonight we went and had Indian food for dinner. It was great. Next year we are going to try a different cuisine. I think this will be a new tradition. Will I still make the worst looking cookies ever? Yes… yes I will but that is the fun of the season.” – Tara, Texas

While some of us have nice, warm homes to spend Christmas in, there are those that have no place to call home. Most of them live huddled together around a barrel with a fire in it to stay warm. They live on the street or in a shelter night to night. While we often spend time trying to decide what we are going to eat for our next meal, they don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

Christmas means to me: a time of reflection, remembrance, family, friends, love, kindness and forgiveness. Reflecting of the past year and smiling. Remembering people we lost (Abby, yeah she's a dog but she was my baby) and people we gained (Elaine). Family-which includes for me blood related as well as people I've chosen (you and Elaine for example). Friends...again good friends and some who are part of my family. Love-all things and people you love and who love you. Kindness. Forgiveness...hard to do but you must do for yourself to be able to move on. And Christmas/God/Jesus represents all this for me and God & Jesus have taught me all these things. Some days I try to be all these things...well, everyday. Sometimes I succeed and others I don't do as well.” – Mary, Texas

The homeless aren’t the only ones that often spend this time of year alone. What about the men and women who serve in our military? While we are making plans for Christmas celebrations, they are making plans on who will stand watch each night. While we can hug and love on your loved ones, they are only able to hold pictures or have a few minutes to video chat with their loved ones.

So, as Christmas Eve comes to an end and Christmas Day begins, please take a minute to really think about Christmas is all about. Christmas is love, joy, peace, giving and the birth of Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. Think about what you can do to make Christmas different this year, or next, for someone that doesn’t have what you might have. Share the love of God and the joy of the birth of his son Jesus with someone else. Whether your loved ones are close, on the other side of the world, or spending Christmas with Jesus in Heaven, remember you are loved beyond measure by the Heavenly Father.

Merry Christmas to you and your family, and may God bless you throughout the year to come.

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