Our son woke up bright an early today, before 7:00. He kept opening his bedroom door and looking out to see if anyone is awake, and finally about 7:15 we gave in and got up. The kids ran downstairs to see what Santa had brought, and have been playing with their new toys all morning. But that's not what Christmas is all about.
Now before I continue, let me be clear that I'm aware of all of the origins of Christmas. I know of the Roman holiday of Saturnalia. I know that evergreens with lights (Christmas trees) had their roots in the pagan Winter Solstice celebrations. I know that Jesus was likely born in the Spring, and not December. I know that the wise men didn't visit Jesus as His birth, but a few years later. I enjoy the secular aspects of Christmas, such as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, Santa Claus, and selves. I enjoy giving and receiving gifts, and get excited about decorating the house. But none of this contradicts what the Bible says or what the true meaning of Christmas is.
Regardless of when He was actually born, this day is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Among Christians only Easter has a similar significance. This is the day that God took human form, and came to earth in the most humble of bodies and settings. He came to walk among us and share out lives, so that He could eventually take on our sins as a human. We have chosen today to celebration His birth, and that should never get lost in the other aspects of the holiday. A tiny baby was born and placed in a feeding trough among stabled animals, and He would one day change the world and humanity more than any other single human before or since.
Today enjoy your family and friends, and have fun with the new trinkets and toys. But take time to remember the best Christmas present, Jesus. Treat each other like He would want you to treat them, love each other, and let there be peace among all men and women of this world. This is the celebration of Jesus' birth, and so we should give a gift to Him. That gift is ourselves and our hearts. Give to Him fully, and let Him know that you love and appreciate Him. Be filled with the true meaning and spirit of Christmas!