Amid the rush and commerce of the Christmas season it’s easy to lose the meaning of the holidays. I won’t lament the consumerism that is rife or how Christ is being taken from Christmas. Consumerism isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Christ remains a part of Christmas for millions of people.
The real meaning of the holidays is to make us pause and reflect. Holidays are a bell of mindfulness. They remind us that like the calendar year, sometime we too will be gone never to return. They remind us that family is fleeting and precious. We have very limited time to live. Every moment, every year, that passes is lost. Holidays remind us to use those moments well. Everyday could be Christmas.
For Christians, Christmas is a bell to remind us of Jesus and His life. While we should remember Him everyday, even Sunday remembrances become rote and lose meaning. There is something about a single day, a single moment, that stands out in our minds. Many of us have happy holiday memories. Why? Because we are more aware, mindful, and awake.
We are awake to the reality of the moment and its impermanence. We are awake to the reality that we, our family, and the day will all die. We attach meaning to the holiday, and that allows us to be more aware of its passing than other days. Although those other days are equally precious. That is why memories of holidays are burned into our minds. That is why Jesus resonates so strongly with Christmas.
It is possible to have that level of awakening carry on throughout each day. We just have to pause and consider the moment, this breath. As Christians we can deeply focus on Jesus at any moment. We don’t need the Lord’s Supper or a holiday to do so. The Sunday Supper, Christmas, Easter, and Good Friday are moments that help us focus. We can do so at any time without outside assistance if we only pause and breathe.
Such a holiday focus fosters appreciation for the present situation, our families, and creation. Holidays and these moments remind us that things aren’t as bad as we think they are. In fact, life is pretty good if we allow ourselves to wake up.