They Don’t Know Why We Celebrate

A Christmas photo in which the dogs started play fighting. Sigh.

Every year, my best friend and I buy our two dogs Christmas presents.  As we unwrap candy cane-shaped bones and Pupperoni packages, my dogs’ excitement builds.  Relatives visit and sneak little tidbits of food to the dogs.  They have no idea why they’re getting all these extra treats or visitors, but for them, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…I guess.

Unfortunately, my dogs have no idea why or what we’re celebrating.

My dogs greet the holiday with the same enthusiasm as they do a daily walk, a game of fetch, or a visit to my mom’s apartment.  Dogs simply do not have the intellectual capacity to understand Christmas, but they sure do get excited about it.

Don’t we all get excited about Christmas?  The songs surrounding the holiday season, lights and tacky decorations adoring houses, and that ol’ feeling of Christmas in the air.  While Santa Claus, Rudolph, and Frosty are fun; they aren’t the real stars of the holidays.  Moralistic values teach us that Christmas is a spirit and goodness that seems to saturate our society, yet hearts still get broken, people murdered, and loved ones die, even on Christmas day.

Somewhere between presents piled high beneath the Christmas tree, watching Elf for the 1000th time, and drinking egg nog, we miss the real meaning of Christmas.  I know I’m not saying anything new.  What concerns me though is that we, as Christians, have no idea why we celebrate.  Wrapping presents, baking cookies, hopping from holiday party to holiday party, we become busy, miserable, and just wish we could forget the whole thing.

We have no idea why we celebrate either.

The tiny infant and his virgin mother are sometimes lost behind Santa’s sleigh and our shopping list.  We still find him nestled in a plastic manger in light-up (sometime blow-up) nativities.  He adorns our Christmas cards and is celebrated in our songs.  But our hearts are far from Him.

He was born to die.

For us.

To undo the curse as far as it is found.

And, oh, that mean old curse ravages our lives—tears our families apart with drug addiction and divorce, scars us with dark pasts, and obscures our view of the future.  Watching a loved one die a slow and painful death one year made me realize how far this curse is truly found and why we needed Jesus to come to save us.  We are helpless and without hope.  Yet over 2000 years ago, Hope for the human race came to earth, and what’s why we celebrate.

Though my dogs can’t possibly understand the depth of the Gospel—the beginning of the story—you can!  So instead of being caught up in squeaking toys and Snausages like my dogs, remember God’s true gift, which is too big and too wonderful to fit under any tree.  And it is too marvelous to keep to your self.  This Christmas be sure to tell a world looking for a true Savior why you celebrate.

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