Christmas from a different perspective

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I put aside childish things.


When I was a little boy, Christmas was exciting to me for different reasons than it is now. My parents tried very hard to teach us that Christmas was about Jesus’ birth and that we should be more concerned with giving than receiving.

But I still loved the days I sat on the living room floor with the Christmas edition of the Sears catalog and a spiral-bound notebook. My brother and I would take turns (begrudgingly, of course) with the inch-thick catalog of wonderment, writing down what we wanted for Christmas, and what page it could be found on.

I am not sure I ever filled a notebook completely, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. It would have been simpler each year to just write “everything on pages 87-103,” rather than try to list everything I wanted. I’m pretty sure I did that at least once.

My parents never promised us we’d get everything we asked for. But they tried to get us one thing from our “want” lists.

On Christmas Day, we’d gather near the tree and listen to my dad read the story of the birth of Christ from the Gospel of Luke, then we’d tear into the beautifully-wrapped bounty before us. It was always exciting to open a package and it be batteries. That meant there was a battery-powered toy or device coming up!

I always looked forward to getting something cool, unusual or just plain fun. I also looked forward to giving gifts to my family and any friend I could. It was a lot of joy to see others appreciate what you picked out for them.

As I grew older, and had children of my own, I enjoyed Christmas for different reasons. I wanted my children to appreciate what they received, and appreciate the joy of giving to others. We did our best to instill this in them from a very early age. We also made sure to drive home that the holiday was not just a reason to take a break from school, go to parties and get gifts. This was a celebration of the birth of our Savior.

We will soon welcome our first grandchild, a little girl. Next Christmas will be her first. At 10 months old or so, she won’t be able to appreciate much beyond pretty lights and sparkly things. But that’s OK — her mother (my baby girl) is still rather entranced by those things, as well. What can I say? Shiny stuff distracts me, too.

Though my focus at Christmas has always contained a realization of Christ’s birth in addition to the gifting and getting, as I have grown (chronologically and in maturity), the weight has shifted heavily. The coming of Christ has gained so much more importance for me, and the gifting/getting has lessened so much.

As the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Corinth (the first one we have), when I was a child, I thought and acted like one. Now that I’m no longer a child, my thoughts and behavior have changed.

I thank God for the greatest gift that could ever be known — the gift of His Son Jesus.

If you don’t know him, that’s my prayer for you this Christmas — that you will meet him. It’ll change your perspective on Christmas and everything else.


Brett Campbell can be reached at