Dear brothers, everyone must have realized that the posts I have been writing in December have been focusing on the holiday season and on issues related to the fact that 2020 is coming.
I believe the title of this post could not be more self explanatory. Particularly, I love Christmas for several reasons. It is a date when we remember the birth of Jesus (even though no one knows precisely the correct date). It’s vacation time. Time to reunite with family. Time to enjoy good times with the people we love.
In my family we have a tradition of exchanging gifts. And I know this is a common practice in many other families in the world. I do not see this as an obligation, but a time where I am very happy to be able to give gifts to people that are important to me. Yes, I love receiving gifts. But surely my greatest pleasure in these moments is much more in “giving” than “receiving”.
However, as with everything else, the world has managed to misrepresent even the act of giving gifts. A beautiful gesture was turned into something without limits. Christmas ends up being remembered as a date of pure consumerism, unfortunately.
Why do we give presents for Christmas?
No one knows for sure when or where this custom began. The most accepted idea is that we presented each other in reference to the men who presented Jesus at His birth with gold, incense, and myrrh. Others attribute the custom to such a bishop named Nicholas. By the fourth century, he was giving presents to needy families at the time of the birth of Jesus.
Regardless of where the custom began, it is easy to see that there is no attempt to break the true meaning of Christmas by giving gifts. In fact, at the beginning of these practices all these things worked, say, purely.
The problem started over time. The tradition of giving presents has spread a lot. As it does with all other things, the world has corrupted an act that originated from something simple. “Giving” rather than “receiving” has been left a little aside. The pleasure of giving presents eventually mixed with the unbridled desire for material things.
This unbridled desire for material has been diluted in the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16). The insane pursuit for gifts at this time of year has made the main reason for all this background. Writing for a Christian blog, I don’t think I need to stress that the focus should surely be on the birth of Christ.
Eyes in the right place!
The idea of this text, however, is not to make anyone stop buying gifts for Christmas. I am doing my shopping myself and I will still give my family gifts. But my intention is for all the brothers to think better about why we are running so much on this date.
Is our heart in the things we are buying, in the things we can receive, or is our attention in fact fixed on the birth of our savior and communion with our relatives for this remembrance?
Again, I don’t think the problem is giving people at Christmas. And the fact that our heart is not where it should be.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:19-21