THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS For many years, the holiday season was a dangerous time for me. I had too much free time, negative thoughts, anger and fear. This would always lead to unhealthy actions. I would beg God to bring in January with its work and normalcy. I had no idea that Christmas had a meaning at all. Not so many years ago, something changed. I cannot explain any of it except that God’s hand brought it about. For me, it was a Christmas miracle. The above mentioned negativity was removed. The behavior was removed. I found what I believe to be the true meaning of Christmas. As I have said many times, I do not have any formal training in divinity and am full of character faults. I am just a Protestant Christian trying my best to do God’s will. As a Christian, I have found that Christmas is a time to take a breath, be grateful for what God has provided, give to others, and focus on the birth of Jesus Christ. 1. Taking Time to Be Alone With God - For some, the Christmas season is so full of “to do” lists, traveling, preparing, cooking, and entertaining that it is easy to lose sight of the reason for this time of year. There is nothing wrong with any of these activities. However, we can become more busy and ritualistic than needed. There is no room to take a breath. This is done in many ways; church, prayer, Bible studies, fellowship, and sometimes for me, sitting in a deer stand on a cold, crisp December morning. 2. Gratitude - When silently or publicly worshipping the birth of Jesus, gratitude naturally becomes part of our being. This time of year, we have the opportunity to look around and thank God for all of the blessings, challenges, and people He has sent to us along our path. It is almost impossible to be angry or negative when you are shining through with gratitude for what He has done for us. 3. Spirit of Giving - I firmly believe that Gods wants all of His children to be givers. The wise men from the East began this tradition of giving in the name of the Christ. Christmas provides this opportunity to give to family, friends, and particularly children. There is nothing brighter than the sparkle in a child’s eye on Christmas morning or at other times when gifts are given or exchanged. 4. American Christians - America is the most generous nation on the face of the Earth. As a group, we give billions to charities, individuals, countries, and the poor. America was created out of the idea of freedom to do many things, including to give. Although our country was founded on the principles of Judeo-Christian tradition, America does not persecute our countrymen who choose to worship in different ways. Along with generosity, America is the most tolerant nation on Earth. Sadly, there are people, domestic and foreign, among us who seek to separate Christianity from America. Some of these folks try peaceful means by using the courts. They have had moderate success over the years. However, others belong to radical Islamic terrorist cells like ISIS or the next well-funded violent organization that comes along. Putting aside all of the carefully crafted ways to say this, we have been, are, and will be at war with radical Islamic extremists. We may live in scary times. However, God protects His children. I am going to do my best to focus on the true meaning of Christmas this year. I pray that others will do the same. May God Bless You and Merry Christmas.