What does Christmas really mean!

By Salome Phelamei | Last Updated: Oct 17, 2012, 21:38 PM IST

Salome Phelamei

Many of us feel that Christmas is all about Santa Claus, feasting, partying, shopping and exchanging presents – which are almost a tradition now. Yet, while enjoying the festival with our near and dear ones, we should remember that the festivity takes on a greater significance if we celebrate it with the real spirit of Christmas.

Being a Christian, I know that Christmas is a time to beg forgiveness wholeheartedly for our misdeeds and celebrate the birthday of our Saviour Jesus Christ merrily. During this season, we celebrate the greatest gift, the human race has ever known—``God`s gift of Jesus Christ, His son``. God in His love and mercy saw our spiritual need, and on that Christmas night over 2,000 years ago, ``He send forth His Son at the right and ripe time``. (Gal 4:4).

As a child I used to long for December, as the festival meant new dresses, cakes and lovely gifts, which my parents and relatives showered on me. I was ignorant of the essence of the festival. It was always heartening to attend Christmas Eve services and sing carols under the soft glow of lights in the cold night of December. In villages, feasting and social gatherings as well as performances of hilarious plays would add to the festivity. I would enjoy to my heart’s content, meet friends, relatives and would simply wish that the celebrations never end. Perhaps, winter being my favourite season of the year, adds extra fun and magic to the festival.

Finally, the celebrations would be over, and all my happiness would vanish. Feeling distressed I would go back to my usual work. But as I grew up I started wondering about the essence of the festival. And I came to know more about Him and the reason for celebrating His birth. The Bible says we are lost and separated from God, but Jesus Christ came to bring us back. Everyone has sinned against God and is far away from His presence. But by profiting from the gift of God’s grace, all of us would be saved. Ephessians 2:8 says, ``For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God``.

So, Christmas to me is restoring the peace of the world. It brings hope and gives a new lease of life. It means a time to reconcile and submit ourselves completely to Jesus. It means a time to help the poor and needy, share the joys and pains of loved ones. Let’s forget everything else this season and bring Jesus and his teachings at the centre, so that this Christmas turns out to be the most joyous celebration ever. Merry Christmas!

Facts about Jesus:

• He was not born in a palace, but in a manger to a peasant woman

• He never owned a house, neither held an office

• He never wrote

• He never travelled more than 200 miles from his native place

• He worked at a carpenter’s shop till he reached 30 years of age

• Religious leaders became His enemy as He cured the sick and revived the dead

• He was spat upon, flogged and ridiculed

• He was nailed to a cross between two thieves

• While He was dying, the executioners gambled for His only piece of property He had on earth, and that was His robe

• When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed tomb through the pity of a friend, and He was risen from the dead on the third day