When I was a child, I used to sing a popular Danish song that translates into English as: “Christmas is coming now, and Christmas continues till Easter. . .” Nowadays we might add that Christmas starts right after Easter, because often by September the first Christmas cookies are already on the shelves in the supermarket. Maintaining an artificially created Christmas atmosphere for three months is not an easy task. It certainly could explain why many people think that Christmas is a tiresome duty rather than a happy event. Where is the old Christmas atmosphere filled with the excitement of joyous expectancy, with homemade gifts, happy songs, and wonderful stories for reading aloud while candlelight fills the room?
Could it be that we have forgotten what Christmas really means?
Christmas commemorates the most happy event that took place more than 2,000 years ago. Happy because the birth of Jesus brought a new understanding of God’s love for humankind. Jesus showed us that we are the beloved children of God. In the Bible, this is confirmed: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God” (I John 3:1). So at Christmas we should show our love for all the dear ones around us. Of course, the expression of our love should not be limited to Christmastime. Neither should it be the kind of love we give in order to be loved back, nor the kind of love expressed by a merely human sense of one another. These kinds of love never change anything in the world for the better. The love I’m thinking of is God’s love for us, a pure and infinite love that makes us happy and peaceful and impels us to do good for others.