If you were to randomly ask people on the street, “What is the spirit of Christmas” you would get a variety of answers. Some would mention the Christ Child and God’s plan of salvation, but many would be ambiguous with answers of love, joy, peace, and good will. These are a part of the spirit of Christmas, but their true meanings are often corrupted. Other answers give warm, fuzzy feelings, but they, too, are not the true spirit of Christmas. Here are the meanings of what many people think is the spirit of Christmas.
· Peace on earth—a yearning for or a time to work for tranquility and harmony in the world or between individuals.
· Love—a feeling that we should be nice and get along with everyone or take a special interest in someone(s) dear to us.
· Joy—a manufactured euphoria that has no basis other than wishful thinking and ends when things get back to normal.
· Good will—an attitude that results in pleasant greetings, being helpful, sending cards, bonuses to employees, and acts of philanthropy.
· Children—Christmas is for children. This refers to the festive excitement of children; their heads are filled with Santa, reindeer, decorated trees, presents, snow, food, no school, and attention focused on pleasures for them.
· Family—Christmas is a time for family. Sometimes platonic, sometimes ritualistic, it is anticipated as going “home,” reuniting with loved ones, eating special meals or foods, attending children’s plays, reminiscing about the past.
The true spirit of Christmas—from the perspective of man’s role—was demonstrated by the shepherds when, after being visited by the angels, left their flocks, sought the Christ Child, and eagerly told others. The true spirit of Christmas was demonstrated by Simeon and Anna who blessed God for His salvation and spoke of Him to others. The true spirit of Christmas was demonstrated by the magi who came seeking the one born King of the Jews. Matthew 2:10–11 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down, and worshipped Him; and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto Him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Yes, the magi were filled with joy. Yes, they had a feeling of good will. Yes, they brought gifts. But the true spirit of Christmas, the most important thing we can do at Christmas, or any other time, is what the magi did before they presented their gifts—they fell down and worshipped Him. The true spirit of Christmas is to worship Christ the King!