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Are you removing the Christ from Christmas?

Is Jesus really the reason for the season, or is that just something trendy we say during this time of the year? As a child, I was never a huge fan of Christmas which eventually turned me into a little bit of a Scrooge. I did not grow up believing in Santa, was not showered with a ton of gifts, lacked family traditions, and at some point, refused to be the only person to decorate the Christmas tree every year—so my family stopped having one. For context, my experience is pretty typical growing up in an immigrant family. It was not until adulthood, when I shared my Christmas experiences, that I found relief in my shared reality with other 1st generation American kids.

But one aspect of Christmas remained consistent for me during this time of year. Jesus! Growing up in a Catholic household where my father was the music director, I experienced many evening and morning masses. I was surrounded by music that celebrated the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Some of my favorite Christmas songs are Mary Did you Know, O Holy Night, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, Angels We Have Heard on High, and I'll throw in Donny Hathaway's version of This Christmas for good measure. Even as a child, thanks to my parents, I understood that Christmas was centered around the salvation that Jesus offered his people and not the number of things I could accumulate. Sure, who doesn't like to receive gifts? But buyer beware; to remove the Christ out of Christmas is to solely celebrate a "big gathering of people," as the word MAS is defined in Greek. Christmas was coined to define the gathering of Christ. "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6 NLT. So as you finalize your Christmas plans be sure to incorporate Jesus in those—especially if you have kids. Ideas like following an Advent devotional calendar, attending Christmas church services, or even studying the true meaning of Christmas traditions (e.g., what do Christmas trees have to do with Christmas) are examples of ways to keep Jesus the main focus for this Christmas season. Jesus is the reason for the season, and I pray that despite our spending habits, Christ will remain the focus of our Christmas holiday. God bless you all, and have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New year! P.S. What are some of your favorite family Christmas traditions? Please share some of those in the comments section below. Our family is still trying to figure that part out.



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