When it comes to the true meaning of Christmas, I’ve rarely seen it better understood than by my 3-year-old grandson Noah.
Noah recently spent the weekend with me and my wife, Melony — aka Nana and Poppy — and, as we did last year, we took him to see the Christmas lights on Lovers Lane Road. As we made our way through the site who should we see but Santa Claus himself. Our host, Clyde Seymour, said if we wanted to we could pull over and let Noah see Santa and get his picture taken with him.
We did just that and while my wife took Noah’s picture with Santa, Noah told Santa what he wanted most of all for Christmas. When he got back in the car and we continued on our way around the exhibit, Melony asked Noah what he’d asked Santa to bring him for Christmas.
Noah said “pipes, cords, and wires.” Needless to say, this surprised and puzzled Melony and me. She then asked Noah why he wanted those things and he said wanted to use them to bring power to the homes of people far away who didn’t have it.
Melony and I both were again surprised, but also incredibly touched by the selflessness of Noah’s request of Santa Claus. He could have asked Santa for things for himself like toys, but instead wanted Santa to bring him the means of helping the less fortunate.
I couldn’t help but think that Noah’s request captures perfectly the true meaning of Christmas. It is not about what we get but about what we give, especially if in giving we are helping those in need. That’s what Christmas is really about because when you get right down to it, Christmas began with the giving of a gift, the greatest gift of all given by one who did not have to give it, but nevertheless did so because He loved those to whom He was giving the gift.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ who, on the first Christmas, gave Himself as the first and greatest Christmas gift, the greatest that will ever be given. He gave Himself to the human race which desperately needed — and continues to need — the spiritual salvation and reconciliation that only He can provide.
No greater Christmas gift has been or ever will be given than the one given that first Christmas day, but those who seek to understand and act in accordance with the true meaning of Christmas should take to heart these words Jesus spoke during His earthly ministry:
35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
— Matthew 25:35-40
When we help those less fortunate than we are then we are ministering to them in a way that pleases Jesus and shows we truly understand what His ministry is all about.
Though he is still a child, Noah, in his Christmas wish to Santa, made in that innocent, open, good-hearted, generous and loving nature that only a child is truly capable of, shows he understands what Jesus expects of us and what Christmas is all about.
So this Christmas season, remember the true meaning of Christmas and be among the righteous described by Jesus in Matthew 25:35-40 who love Him enough to love the less fortunate who He also loves and extend to them a helping hand as He extends the gift of salvation to all humanity.
Happy Birthday Jesus and Merry Christmas to all your children.
Charles Warner is a staff writer for The Union Daily Times and can be reached at [email protected] Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.