“Remember the reason for the season!” is the sign we see all over once the holidays start popping up. What is that exactly?
It’s funny, when I was growing up, everyone knew what the reason was. Not everyone recognized or believed in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for the sins of the world. But we lived in a culture and a country that at least knew what it was, even if some rejected it.
It’s different now.
Our culture, our nation, has splintered. There are many many reasons for this, but one of those is that we just don’t celebrate Christianity in as unified a way as we used to. People in the Western World simply don’t have as much space for any faith, much less Christianity, as we used to.
But the central reason for Christmas is still one that all people can recognize, despite their faith, or lack thereof. The reason for the season is that no man is an island, and we all have people that came before us that sacrificed in order for us to be where we are, to have what we have and be what we are. And it is good for us to stop and think about those sacrifices made for us, and be thankful, and grateful.
And this is true in every spheres of our lives.
As an American, a central part of my identity is to be grateful for all the people who sacrificed so much for this incredible nation to be created and maintained for decades until I was lucky enough to participate in it. Part of my identity is to continue that work, in whatever way I can, to preserve and maintain the institutions upon which this country is founded, and those that made it great.
Part of my identity is to recognize the sacrifices my father and my mother made to make me who I am, and to be grateful to them and respect those sacrifices by living a life they would be proud of. That extends to my own family now, I have to repay the sacrifices made for me by sacrificing for them.
Even as simply a person who was born at a time where the world has advanced to such an incredible age, I have to force myself to stop sometimes, quit taking things for granted, and look around and marvel at the awesome miracles that technology and our human inventiveness have produced for us to share and flourish. Even those are gifts from a God who planted that inventiveness into the human soul and provided the elements in creation for us to invent with.
Part of the reason I believe in Christianity is that I have so much to be grateful for. The central story, the incredible narrative at the center of the Bible is that a holy and perfect God came down to save humanity and made an unfathomable sacrifice for us, to redeem us from our sins, and draw us to Him in a way we could never do on our own. It is the highest most perfect sacrifice that encompasses all others.
As I look around at every miraculous good that God has provided to me, to all of us, I am reminded at the reason for this holy season.