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What Does Christmas Mean to You?

“There’ll be snow on the ground / There’ll be lights in the trees / There’ll be love all around / But if you’re not with me / Tell me what does Christmas mean / Without you."


These are lyrics from the chorus of an upbeat and fairly new Christmas song from country singer Jimmie Allen, “What Does Christmas Mean.” It has quickly become one of my favorites, and I even made a dance routine to the song!

But when I heard the song again this past week, the question it asks caught my attention most. Notice above the last two lines of the chorus: “Tell me what does Christmas mean / Without you.”

Now the song seems to speak of a human—either dead or alive—who will not be physically present with the singer this Christmas. I believe this is a genius subject because it stretches beyond the cliche holiday romance songs we hear on the radio all the time (Mariah, please don’t be mad at me!). Rather, it highlights a deeper love for someone dear…

And really, that is what Christmas is truly about—a love that transcends time and runs deep like a ribbon extending through this galaxy and beyond.

Can I ask you a question? Tell me what does Christmas mean to you?

In my life journey thus far, I’ve realized that people generally have one of three perspectives on this holiday:

1.    Those who love Christmas

2.    Those who don’t like Christmas or don’t feel “into it."

3.    Those who think Christmas is “another day.”

Whatever category is your best fit, I want to say something: Christmas is really about life. It’s easy (and I’ve done it too!) to focus so much on the presents and parties that we begin to put the most important celebration last—the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Maybe this holiday pricks your heart like porcupine needles because you have lost a loved one around this time. Perhaps Jimmie Allen’s song resonates with you in a vividly authentic way. I want to encourage you that the birth of Jesus means that your loved one is still alive in eternity and a part of why He came from Heaven—so that life on earth wouldn’t be the end for them.

Let’s try switching the song lyrics just a little: “Tell me what does Christmas mean / Without Jesus?”

The answer is Christmas sales in mid-October, billions of dollars spent on gifts, credit card debt, gift-picking anxiety, and an email inbox filled with enough sales messages last an entire year.

Don’t let the commercialization of this season cut what matters most from your heart.

I love Christmas, but I will confess that at the beginning of the season I was not in the Christmas mood. I have too many bills already, and the idea of struggling to put gifts under the tree just made me want to run away from Christmas this year. Really I cried because I want so much to give without worrying about keeping the lights on.

But then I began to listen to Christmas music. I began to fast and pray more. And I was reminded that Christmas means life, and that as long as I can put Jesus first, God will help me put gifts under the tree without going bankrupt. Because after all, presents are still a part of Christmas and remind us of the gift of loved ones and the moments we share with them...

And the gift that started the Christmas story: little baby Jesus. All of this began with His life. Perhaps that is why this season can inspire us so much to give and love more. We need only open our hearts—and keep the meaning of Christmas front and center.

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