Those who know me may disagree, but I’m not a total grinch when it comes to Christmas. Granted, I’m not the first one to decorate and put up a Christmas tree. We don’t light up the neighborhood outside our house. I don’t like Christmas songs before Thanksgiving. And, with the exception of our annual viewing of It’s A Wonderful Life, I don’t watch a lot of Christmas movies.

I do enjoy Christmas, however. I just don’t get into the fervor that Christmas brings. My wife and I aren’t big shoppers, so Christmas shopping isn’t very exciting. Traffic and long checkout lines are no fun. Crowded stores can be chaotic, and high credit card bills in January are things I’d rather avoid.

I do love the Christmas celebrations at our church, and we love time with our family. Of course, the holiday food is great too.

I think most of us can agree that the commercialism of Christmas can take the focus off the real meaning of the holiday. I think Jesus likes that we celebrate His birthday even though we don’t actually know His birthdate. (Did I just ruin it for you? I told a young lady once that December 25 is probably not Jesus’ birthday, and she was so disappointed. I still feel bad about that.)

All of the extras that have been added to Christmas often push aside the real gift we’ve been given. The birth of our Savior is one of the most mind blowing, earth shattering, life changing events since creation! That God came down to dwell among us (Immanuel = God with us) is almost too much to comprehend! 

Not only did the Savior dwell among us, but He also died and rose again for us. Jesus’ birth began a 33 year journey modeling to us how to live a godly life. Then, at God’s appointed time, He took on the sin of the world when He was crucified on a cross.

And thank God that wasn’t the end of the story. Jesus rose from the grave to claim victory over death and to give us the promise that we too can have a life that lasts forever with Him. 

My life changed forever when I understood these simple truths. Christmas is a reminder to me that God loves me so much that He gave me Jesus. I am so thankful for the gift of the Savior, a gift that allows me to have an abundant and eternal life. Some may think I’m a grinch, but I’m grateful for Christmas and what it means to me every day of the year. 

“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).