That's Christmas to Me

Greetings JCCS Community

Christmas is upon us! Next Monday, it officially is here and the hustle and bustle of normal life comes to a screeching halt.

One of the fads that hits JCCS every Christmas time is that of the singing group, Pentatonix. This group of five members (4 men and 1 woman) have taken much of popular culture, as well as JCCS, by storm with their creative and whimsical variations on traditional Christmas songs and carols. Walking up and down the halls of JCCS during the Christmas season frequently results in hearing these tunes playing in the background as students do seat work or possibly the appearance of one of their songs during our weekly Chapel service.

Most of the songs that they sing are traditional Christmas carols, but the group has taken their attempts at creating their own Christmas classic. One of these songs is entitled, “That’s Christmas to Me”. During this song, the lyrics speak directly into the traditional aspects of Christmas including the Christmas tree, opening Christmas gifts, enjoying the snow outside, and the importance of spending time with family. Each of these things for the singers are identified as necessary to make Christmas truly Christmas for them.

When I think of Christmas, admittedly my mind jumps to Christmas traditions that I have grown to love and cherish over the years. This includes setting up the Christmas tree on December 1 and sharing a glass of eggnog with my wife once completed, the reading of the Christmas story with my family on Christmas Eve, singing Christmas carols together after stuffing ourselves with Christmas dinner, and going to see a performance of Handel’s Messiah at least once. And why do I do this year after year?? Because “That’s Christmas to Me”.

What is wonderful is that these are just my experiences. Each one of us has something entirely different that shapes and molds our Christmas experiences to the point where we are all able to say, “That’s Christmas to Me”. For some of us, we take time to go around and sing Christmas carols to our friends and neighbours, we may volunteer at a local agency as a way to give back to the community, or maybe we do not even celebrate Christmas in the traditional sense.

However, what does unify us? The birth of Christ. Over the course of the 24 hours surrounding Christmas day, I speculate that all of us will, at some point, gather together with some Christian community and reflect on the birth of Christ. We will share in this experience together because “That’s Christmas to US!” We realize that Christmas is not just about what makes it “Christmas to Me”, but rather it is about the fact that Christ came ultimately to bring glory to God. For all of eternity, Christ existed with the Father and then took on the form of a lowly baby in a manger. He was born, he lived, and he ultimately died.

Christmas is nothing without Easter! Maybe instead of “That’s Christmas to Me”, we should be singing “Amazing Grace” as we sing carols to during Christmas time. For certainly, the cross is the focal point of not just Easter, but also Christmas. A celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection; That’s Christmas to Me!

Merry Christmas to each of you! May you be filled with the Holy Spirit and led to be the hands and feet of Christ!