Christmas is filled with lots of fun and exciting activities and traditions. However, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there are a few essential things that I hope my children learn about the spirit of Christmas.
To my boys:
The stockings are hung and the presents are wrapped. Christmas is almost here, my boys, and you couldn’t be more excited.
Little Man, for weeks you’ve been wearing a Santa hat around the house, asking people what they want for Christmas and insisting that they go to “sleep” so you can bring them gifts. You diligently keep track of out advent calendar every day and make sure we all know how many days there are left until Christmas.
Little Brother, I love the way you laugh, “Ho, ho, ho!” from the back seat of the car every time you see Christmas lights while we drive around town. You insist that we listen to Christmas music in the car all the time, and you point out the words you recognize, like “Jesus” and “Rudolph.” You both have completely embraced the magic of the Christmas season, and I love to see you bursting with anticipation.
There’s something I want you to remember, though, my little elves. In a few days, Christmas will be over. People will put away the twinkling lights and stop playing the carols you love so much. We’ll start a new year, but I hope that you won’t let that be the end of celebrating what Christmas is really about.
I hope and pray that you–like Ebeneezer Scrooge at the end of Dickens’s famous carol–will say, “I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Because, my boys, the message of Christmas does not end after the presents are all unwrapped. The good news is still good. The glad tidings can still bring us great joy. The true spirit of Christmas is not about Santa or shiny wrapping paper. It’s not about gingerbread or stockings.
It’s about a little baby who was born in a stable on the other side of the world more than two thousand years ago. More importantly, it’s about the person that baby grew up to be and the hope he can give us. It’s about a star that shone brightly in the dark night sky.
Boys, the world will sometimes seem like a dark place to you. There are so many tragedies, so much contention and sorrow. There are many who have lost their homes, lost their way, lost their faith. You don’t see that side of the world yet, and for that I’m thankful. I’m thankful that your world is still simple and good. But, as you grow, you will become aware of how imperfect our world is. Still, don’t you give into that gloom, my boys. There is hope yet for this crazy, mixed up world.
There is a Savior. His name is called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He is the light in our sometimes dark world. Follow Him, and you will not walk in darkness. He will share his light with you. Believe in him. Believe that he is. Believe that he can make every wrong right again–not today–but forever.
And once you have his light, you can share it, too. That is how you keep Christmas all year, my sunshine-filled boys. Learn of the Savior, come to know Him, and become His hands. As we all find our own beam of light through the Savior, and shine it out to those around us, the world becomes a much brighter place.
The world needs your light, my boys. It needs your kindness. Just like the star that shone over Bethlehem, you can shine with joy, hope, and love that will lead others toward Christ. That light can change the world. Bit by bit, shine into the dark corners and love those around you. That is the spirit of Christmas. Love and light.
May you always keep Christmas in your heart.