I love Christmas! It is probably my most favorite of holidays…and not just because I was born just a few days after Christmas. I love the twinkling lights, the beautiful Christmas trees, the Christmas carols, family traditions, the kid’s pictures with Santa, the joy on people’s faces, and giving gifts. I love wrapping gifts with my daughter while Christmas music is playing in the background….and then I love taunting my family members as bring the wrapped gifts out and place them under the tree. My kids are old enough now (both in college) that they try to act like they are not the least bit interested, but they still want to know what’s in those boxes and if mom got the one thing they want more than anything else. If you were to ask them what their best Christmas was, they would probably both tell you it was the year that they received a fully packed suitcase (all with new clothes) and on top of the clothes laid an annual pass to Walt Disney World. We left the next day for a three day stay at one of the resort hotels and enjoyed everything Disney. We certainly do make memories that last a lifetime around the Christmas holidays.
What does bother me about Christmas is that retailers have made it into financial gains while shoppers stress over finding the perfect gift and how to pay for it. It has become one of the most stressful holidays of the year for many people. Why? Because we’ve lost the focus of the reason we celebrate the holiday.
What would Christmas be like if we returned to the simple beauty of Christmas? Instead of hustle and bustle to get to the next Christmas party, our neighborhoods could be filled with the sound of carolers as they stroll through the streets. Instead of giant blowup minion (or other popular figures) Santas on our front lawns, there would be more nativities. Have you ever wondered about how the traditions of Christmas were designed to remind us of the miracle of our Savior’s birth? As we celebrate Christmas this year, may we long for that simple beauty, remembering how the King of kings was born, held in the arms of his young, virgin mother and laid in a lowly cattle feeding trough. Even more so, let us yearn for His renewed presence among us. Let it draw us to worship, just as the shepherds came to worship. Let us bring Him the gifts of our love, praise and adoration, just as the wise men brought gifts of god, frankincense, and myrrh. Let us bring Him our gratitude for the blessings He has given us this past year. As we sing the Christmas songs, let us remember the angels that sang at His birth.
I hope that as we begin this Christmas season, that this year will be different. That we will focus the holiday around the one who’s birthday we celebrate. I hope that we will stop rushing and take time focus our attention on Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with His gifts of joy, love, and grace that He gives through Jesus’ gift of salvation to us. To help you draw your holiday focus on the celebration of Christ’s birth, our blog posts leading up to Christmas will focus on the traditions of the Christmas season and the message of Christ within the traditional decorations used throughout the centuries. My hope is that by remembering what Christmas is truly about, that you will not only make memories with your family and children that will last a lifetime…but on into eternity.