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Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Gift of Christmas

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I've had friends coming up to me, asking me the same question, "Why do you guys give presents to each other during Christmas? What is the story behind the whole Christmas's presents-giving logic?"

Well, bear in mind that the fact that I was born a Catholic, it didn't necessarily mean that I have the answer to everything.
However, I would like to share my thoughts on the true meaning behind this whole Christmas concept after this excerpt which I found on the Internet about the symbols of Christmas here

Christmas tree - Usually a fir tree due to the following reasons:
1. The green color is throughout the whole year; symbolizes the everlasting hope of all mankind
2. The arrow-like tree structure and the sharp edges pointing upward which shows the wishes of all mankind to ascend into heaven

The Star on top of the tree - the sign of the fulfilled promise by God many years ago/long long time ago. God promised us a Savior of the World, and the star is the heavenly representation of the fulfillment

Candle - Christ is the light of the world, and the candle reminds us of how his presence is in place of the darkness

Wreath - the real nature of love that never ceases. The round shape is a symbol of the continuity of the affection around

Santa Claus - St Nicholas; generosity and goodness during December

Holly leaf - represents immortality and the crown of thorns worn by our Saviour. The red holly berries represent the blood shed by him

Gifts - reminder that God gave us his only Son out of his love for the world

Candy Cane - the shepherd's crook. The crook on the staff helps to bring back strayed sheep from the flock

Angel - the one who brought good news to the world. Their song sings glory to God in the highest and all goodness on earth

Bell - the lost sheep are found by the ring of a bell and it should ring mankind to fold. A symbol of return and guidance

(The above information were extracted directly from the Yahoo! answers - link is above)

Now, I hope this is interesting information on all the items we use during Christmas.
And how does the whole idea of gift come into the picture?
As explained above, it is a gift from God that he gave us his one and only son to redeem our sins and save us from the fires of hell.
The birth of Jesus Christ himself is a GIFT

Christmas is the day when our Savior is born and that day itself is a gift
The reason we are giving gifts to our loved ones?
To remind that God is giving and forgiving us - the greatest gift of all
And to give each other gifts and to forgive each other during this season, is to appreciate the move made by God
At the same time, we are only doing the little bit in God's footsteps as we give away gifts of love and thoughts (it is nothing compared to God's gift of LOVE)

When we give away each gift, we seal it with our thought, love and prayer
Are we really doing that?
Or are we just pursuing in the trend and hype of the Christmas season?
Do people today really know the true meaning of Christmas?
Do you really want to give those people gifts or are you just merely being polite and courteous and their names are on the list?

Think carefully, the giving and receiving of gifts aren't merely just what you see on the surface
It is a whole lot more than a process of wrapping and unwrapping the papers and politely pretend that you like the present

The giving of gifts is itself a gift; as you think of your loved ones and your effort in searching for the perfect thing for them

To me, a gift is never to be measured by it's value worth in money but rather, the thought itself
The kindness and generosity in looking for a gift, spending the money on purchasing the gift and wrapping it up is already a GIFT within itself
When you give to the intended recipient, you probably had already imagined that he/she would squeal in delight and give you a hug and you smiled at that picture when you swiped your credit card at the counter. That is also a GIFT to your inner self
When the person who receives the present and really liked it and they thanked you, while you smiled and say, "I am glad you liked it" - you have received your GIFT and so have the recipient

The practice of presents exchanging should be done out of love and willingness; for the love of your fellow recipients and yourself and not just merely out of tradition
Start to think along those lines, say a prayer for the person who gave you a gift and the person whom you gave a gift to
Your gift doesn't have to be an expensive one; even a handmade card will be meaningful to whoever who receives it from your heart

Take some time to ponder, and while you are enjoying all your Christmas presents, realize that the whole season is a GIFT in itself
Once you start to appreciate your gifts and enjoy the spirit of giving to others, will you truly appreciate and enjoy the season of Christmas:)

Have you thought of your gifts for your loved ones next year?