Laughing, she responded, "I don't know. Is that the day that Jesus died?"
There was some truth in her answer.
Too often, we have a tendency to celebrate Christmas as simply a season filled with Christmas trees, candy canes, and Santa Clause. We live in an age where Christmas is typically more about receiving gifts than it is about giving. Although there's nothing wrong with any of these activities, sometimes it's pretty easy to lose perspective on the real meaning of Christmas. History really hasn't changed a whole lot. 2000 years ago when Jesus was born, taxation was the news of the day. Contrary to popular imagination, there probably weren't hundreds of people gathered around the stable that night anticipating the birth of the long awaited Messiah. More than likely, it was just Mary and Joseph, that couple who had gotten to Bethlehem too late to find a room at the local hotel. The Jewish prophets and priests were looking for a conquering king of noble royalty, one who would defeat the empire and usher in an age of peace unlike any Israel had ever seen. And yet, Jesus wasn't found in a mansion, but in a manger. He came down from the throne to be crowned with thorns. The one who was born in a cradle was destined to die on a cross. Why? Because of love. One commentary puts it well: "Jesus paid a debt he didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay." In a season of presents and cards, there is a gift that should never be forgotten, there is a debt that has been paid, and there is a spirit of Christmas found not in one day, but over thousands of years and through all eternity, the story of a king who is coming to reign. Even Santa Clause can't beat that.