Christmas to many is the most wonderful time of the year. Nearly everyone looks forward to it with eager anticipation, counting down the days as it draws near. Unless there is some sort of heartache tied to it, I believe most would agree it is the most wonderful time of the year.
This Christmas season I’ve been reflecting on this often, having this song play over and over in my head (good thing I love Christmas music!). Why is this the most wonderful time? What makes it the most wonderful time? I know it’s my favourite time of the year, even this year with its heartache of not having my grandma here for the first time, or being with extended family and friends around.
I believe there are a few reasons that make this the most wonderful time of the year, regardless of whether or not you believe in the true Christmas story.
First is the music we listen to. Throughout the year the music we listen to does not have very good messages for the most part. Many are filled with anger, hurt, cheating, or instant gratification (there’s a song about not wanting a relationship, simply a one night stand). This is what we fill our minds and therefore thoughts with. It’s really all about me, me, me.
At Christmas time on the other hand, the music we hear or listen to changes. Even if we don’t play it ourselves we hear it in the stores where we shop. Though yes, there are still some songs filled with heartache and wants, the majority are not. No, in stark contrast, most are filled with love, hope, peace, and joy. Songs such as Joy To The World, All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth (so I could wish you Merry Christmas), and It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year.
These songs proclaim joy, speak of good times with friends and family, and focus on the giving and not the getting. As these thoughts fill our minds so they also begin to fill our hearts.
This flows to my second reason, that our focus becomes outwards instead of inwards. We begin to think of others more as we try to come up with things our loved ones desire, thinking of gifts until we come up with the perfect one. We give gifts to many in our circles, whether it’s a card, baking, or a large gift, they are all on our minds and we give with love.
This is also a time of year where there is a great amount of giving to charities or paying it forward like buying someone’s groceries or coffee behind us. These things make us feel good and put is in the “Christmas Spirit”. Our thoughts again turned to others instead of ourselves.
Third, we spend time surrounded by friends and family. Most often this is the time of year where families gather in entirety, making that long trek home or eking out some time to commit in our busy lives. I know for our family in particular, most of our year is spent busy, feeling like we’re always playing catch up. This is more due to the fact we have four teenagers and live out of town than us actually doing a lot, but still we often don’t have time. We don’t see our friends or family as much as we’d like, which I’m sure is a sentiment shared by many families.
But at Christmas time we get to see many loved ones, either at our Christmas gathering, at the school performances, or at parties hosted by us us or others. The focus seems to change from “let’s have coffee one day” to “come spend time with us this day”. We make plans, we see loved ones, and our aching hearts are filled.
We weren’t made to walk this journey of life alone, but it seems that so much of the time we try. We don’t make that time to see people and our hearts are left longing until they can be filled again.
When we think back on Christmas past, reflect on what is to come, on what brings us joy at Christmas, it’s not the gifts we get, or the snow softly falling on Christmas eve. The true “magic of Christmas” comes from having an outward focus, from giving, and from being with loved ones. Any gift of significance that will be remembered for years to come aren’t necessarily ones of great monetary value, but those given with great love.
And so I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year. May it be a new year that is filled with this same hope, joy, peace, and love. May it last the whole year through.