I was curious as to what Christmas means to each reader, but since I didn't get many responses, this post is mostly going to be about what Christmas means to me, I guess - ha!
Both of the responses I did get were very similar to what I'm going to expound on. Cara said "Getting together as a family and being thankful for the year's blessings ♥ and of course Jesus, after all He's the reason for the season!" Along those same lines, Melinda responded with "Celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus and time with family!"
Ever since I was a little girl Christmas was a big deal. Not because of presents (though that was of course an added bonus and why we - my brothers and sister and I - were so super excited about it! Ha!), but mostly because of the time we spent with family and worshiping our newborn Savior. My folks were always really involved with the youth at our church (they were the youth group leaders), so some of my earliest memories are hanging out with the "big kids" (aka junior high and high schoolers) throughout the year, but also while mom and dad directed them in the Christmas Eve candle light service. It was always really cool. My mom is wonderfully creative and a born leader, so the productions were always fantastic. Now, it's important to note that I grew up in the very small town of Platte, SD, so it's not like it was a huge production or anything....but the church was always packed to the brim and people from the congregation and community loved it. By the time I was in high school, it had become quite grand, and we always made an impact. So, because of that, you can imagine how important the celebration of Jesus' birth really is to me. In addition to our involvement with the candle light service every year, we made a point to read the Christmas story out of the Bible before we got to open any presents, and at both my extended family celebrations we did the same thing. I remember my mom's mom doing things like printing out Bible verses for each of the grandkids to read...once we read it we lit a candle. It was always very moving (looking back at least...at the time it was mildly amusing, but for sassy teenagers it was mostly just appeasing Grandma).
That brings me to time with family. Family and extended family has always been a central part of my life. I grew up with tons of cousins - I think there are 35 on one side and 20 on the other...yes, we had big families. Obviously, we aren't all the same age, so there was more like a group of about five on one side and four on the other that were really close and played together all. the. time. We were best friends. So when Christmas came (and family came from out of town and stayed for awhile) we were in family / cousin / best friend heaven. We had SO much fun! If there was enough snow we would take a day and go sledding on my dad's side...then on my mom's side we would pull taffy another day. It was truly the best time of the year for so many reasons.
These things still mean so much to me. Family is a very central part to our Christmas celebrations. Of course now that I have my own family with a wonderful husband and small children, it's getting to see the look in the kids' eyes when they see pretty lights, beautifully wrapped presents, and the fun little traditions we are putting into place as the years go by. That is definitely the most important thing to me right now. But we have some extended family traditions as well. I absolutely love getting to spend time with both Randall's and my families this time of year...the love, giving, camaraderie, laughter, and of course good food is simply perfect.
The very most important thing to me, though, and truly the reason for Christmas, is the little baby that was born so long ago in a stable in Bethlehem. He was born to save me (and you!) and has given me new life. Seriously - what could be a better reason to celebrate such a wonderful Holiday?
So...what does Christmas mean to you?
As a side note - I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and pray your celebrations are perfect in whatever you do! Many, many blessings to everyone!