20 December 2005


I can hear the buzz as I write this piece. It's from next door, maybe from some machine as the computer room is next to the lab. It's a few days before Christmas but I am still very busy. Busy with what? I know what you are thinking. That I am busy with shopping and all the preparation for Christmas parties at home, church and office. That was true last year and many years ago. But not this year. I am not so busy preparing for Christmas parties and the like as we are far from home. I am busy finishing my work before the year ends, but I know the work will not be finished. So I have to put it aside a few days later when we celebrate Christmas.

A lot of people are indeed busy these days. I could see that when I am at the bus station waiting for my bus. Or when I walk in the street and in the malls. People are busy buying gifts and shopping for food. Magazines and shops give out reminders and schedules to help people out to be organized with their Christmas shopping. That is good if that is the only thing people do. Anyway it is still helpful, I suppose. At least people know when to schedule something and how to arrange things around their jobs and other responsibilities.

In all our busyness, we have forgotten the reason for Christmas. Why all the trouble about gifts and dinners and parties and families? If you ask people why they celebrate Christmas, you will get varied answers. Some think it is a good time to be with family, and to meet them once a year (thank God they would say!). Some think it is a good time to get that much awaited holiday, and spend it either with family, or away from them! Some (esp kids) think that it is a good time to get that thing that they really wanted, just be good all year (as if they could)! Some think it is an opportunity to drink lots and to eat lots! Even churches take this opportunity to bring more people to church. For some, Christmas time is the only time they attend church!

For me, being busy with all these is not the point. The main thing is to have the time to reflect on what Christmas really means, to me, to all, and why celebrate it. Celebrating the true meaning of Christmas does not cost anything. Only your heart. Giving it to Someone who gave first. That is why giving is the essence of Christmas. Yet sometimes we forget why we give. We give because we love. We love because He first loved us. In the same way, He gave because He loved us.

Jesus came into this world, gave His life because He loved us so much (He always will), He did not desire for anyone of us to perish but to experience an abundant life, with Him. So Christmas without all these commercial trappings is so simple, yet it is very challenging, profound, beyond our understanding.

I hope that in all these busyness, people will take time to think about the real meaning of Christmas. Only then can we say that all these things had not been for nothing, but that it was for something greater and grander.

Blessed is he who realizes that Christmas is celebrating the love that we have been given and giving thanks to God for the opportunity to love in return through our giving!

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