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CAPITOL REPORT: The true meaning of Christmas


There’s truly nothing like Christmas. It’s a special time of the year where we gather around with family and loved ones and take part in our favorite traditions, whether it’s singing along to beautiful hymns in church, making a cookie recipe passed down through generations, or sitting down at the dinner table for a delicious feast. But the most important thing is to remember why we celebrate this joyous day each year: the birth of Jesus Christ.

For centuries, nativity scenes have helped tell the story of Christ’s birth. What’s interesting is that many of the pieces that make up the nativity scenes outside churches or on top of fireplace mantles can be found on farms and ranches across southeast and south-central Missouri. At the center of nativity scenes is a baby Jesus in a manger, which is similar to the troughs we use to feed livestock. There’s also a stable and animals, both of which can be found on family farms and ranches. We also see shepherds – humble folks who spend their days out in the field working tirelessly to take care of their families.

One of my favorite Bible verses to reflect on around Christmas is one that not only tells the story of Christ’s birth, but also gets to the root of Christianity. “And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people’” (Luke 2:10). When the angel appears to the shepherds, God’s messenger immediately sought to calm their fears, knowing that they must have been terrified because they hadn’t seen anything like this before. And then there’s the angel’s promise of “good news of great joy,” which inspired the shepherds to drop everything they were doing so they could witness the birth of Jesus. The angel then told the shepherds that the joy Christ would soon bring was for all people – regardless of their social and economic standing.

Like so many in southeast and south-central Missouri, I come from a working-class family. Growing up, we learned early on to appreciate whatever gifts you received, no matter how big or small they were. Scripture states, “And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions’” (Luke 12:15). Jesus’s teachings remind us that true happiness can only be found in God – not gifts or other material goods.

Although the holidays can be lonely for some, the Bible reminds us that we are never alone. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). While not everyone will be able to celebrate Christmas with their families – including service members stationed abroad, elderly grandparents unable to travel, or police officers out on patrol – God is always with us, no matter where we are.

Christmastime can be stressful, but it’s important that we remember the reason why we celebrate this special day: the birth of Christ, God’s only son who was sent to earth so that we could be forgiven for our sins. May He bless each and every one of you. Merry Christmas!