Every year, billions of people look forward to what we call Christmas. This season is like no other season. There are many holidays during the year, but nothing rivals Christmas. Of course, for many it’s not about what Christmas means but more about the joys of the season. Many look forward to getting together with family and friends, parties, presents and, for some, taking a much-needed vacation.
I am one of those people who enjoy the season. I have always enjoyed the season and looked forward to it growing up. But in those years, the meaning and purpose of Christmas was lost on me. As seasons in my life changed, the Christmas season changed for me. I still loved the season, but for a different reason. I dropped some of my early Christmas staples like continuous partying and intoxication, pasting Junkanoo costumes in the shack and getting into some kind of trouble or the other.
Now, I maximize Christmas. I know your question is: “What do you mean maximize Christmas?” I will get to that in a moment, but let me explain the process. I have learnt a lot over time and come to realize that December 25 is not really Jesus’ birthday and that many things about Christmas have pagan origins mixed in with Christian tradition. There have been endless debates about this, but the truth of the matter is that Christmas has been and will be with us forever so rather than trying to get too philosophical about Christmas, I try to maximize the season.
How can one maximize Christmas? For one, I focus on Christ and what he would have wanted us to do and wants us to do with a celebration in his honor. From the time I discovered the real meaning of Christmas, I would bring my immediate family together on Christmas morning and we would have devotions and talk about what Emmanuel (God with us) is about, regardless of the date. It would be wonderful if we had the date right, but even more important than the date is the event and the purpose of the event. The other thing I have learned to do is to exhibit a Christ-like attitude during this season. I focus not on commercialization but on being kind, helping others in need and giving not to receive but to be a blessing.
At this moment, many people are busy with their Christmas list and Christmas shopping and some people are even stressed, borrowing money or running up credit card bills to impress or please someone. To maximize Christmas, it is important to take a step back and realize what Christmas (celebration of Christ) is all about. Christmas is supposed to be about the recognition that mankind had fallen under a curse and only God could redeem us and he had to become like us in order to do so. Christmas is about redemption, a new start, a change of perspective and, most of all, joy. As the famous Christmas carol says, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King.”
It goes on to say, “No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.”
So, Christmas is about being released from a curse, a fresh start in life and a new perspective. If we learn these things, then we can truly maximize (get the most out of) Christmas. I implore you this season to let this be the season that you get the most out of Christmas. No more meaningless drunkenness, commercialization and abuse of a truly significant event, but instead, a deep appreciation for our salvation and redemption that allows you to truly experience the joy of Christmas.
Joy to the world, joy to you and me. Merry Christmas indeed and a happy and prosperous 2020 to all.
• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to email@example.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.