A few Christmas nuggets for your enjoyment

It's Christmas time again and do you know what that means? Chaos! At least that's what it's come to for many of us this time of year. There are so many gifts to buy, all those cheesy decorations and lights to hang, and the family gatherings can be downright maddening. I'm pretty sure if you listen closely enough you'll hear a collective sigh of relief from most people once the holidays are actually over.

So, this is what we've come to, huh? Maybe my assessment doesn't match how you actually observe Christmas and the holiday season, but I'm afraid it's pretty accurate for most others. Whether you're here or there or even somewhere in the middle, I want to give to you a few nuggets to chew on and ponder this Christmas season.
  1. Christmas is about Jesus. There, I've said the obvious. I know some of you will whip out your history books and recount how December 25 was actually a pagan holiday and Christians just kinda took it over or that we don't know exactly the date on which Jesus was born, but save your breath. Christmas represents our honoring the coming of God in the flesh - Jesus Christ - into the world for the express purpose of dying for the sins of mankind so that we might know salvation and life. Keep that in the front of your brain.
  2. It's not your birthday. True, we can't technically prove that it's Jesus' birthday either but here's the point - it's not really about you. From a very early age we promise our kids loads of presents and for many Christmas mornings become gripe sessions about what they didn't get as opposed to what they did. And don't even get me started on the insanity of Black Friday. Yet each year the majority are licking their chops in anticipation of what they are going to get, hoping above hopes they will get what they truly want. True, there are touching stories of those who give sacrificially to help others and I hope that you do the same, yet I have a feeling that most us still believe getting feels a whole lot better than giving. What a bunch of spoiled brats we've become.
  3. There is no need to carry on the crusade to "keep Christ in Christmas." Before you add me to your own personal naughty list, hear me out. There are a lot of Christians who get all bent out of shape when people say "Happy Holidays" as opposed to "Merry Christmas." I get that Christmas is about Jesus (refer to #1 above) yet while that is how Christians know this time, those who don't believe in or follow Jesus don't get it that way. And that's okay. If you are a Christian then you celebrate Jesus every single day of your life, not just once or twice a year (shout to Easter). Besides, can we really take Jesus out of anything (He is God, you know)? So when someone who does not follow Jesus wants to celebrate at a time of year when Christians like myself want to celebrate His incarnation, then let's use that as a time to lovingly instruct them about Jesus. Have them over for Christmas treats, invite them to your parties, give them a present. I'm pretty sure that will be more effecting in pointing them to Jesus than getting all angry because they don't greet you the right way.
  4. Finally, let's focus on this "Christmas spirit" thing for more than just a few weeks. I truly do tear up when I see families in need get help at this time of year, especially from random strangers or groups who come together and do amazing things. But I would also tear up if I saw these same kinds of beautiful acts of generosity if they happened in April or August. It works for Extreme Makeover Home Edition so why can't that be our focus year round? The generosity of Jesus is not seasonal and it shouldn't be for us either.
 My hope for each of you is that you stand in awe of Jesus, not just at Christmas but on every day of the year. But since it is Christmas and the whole world is watching, let's agree to make it only about Jesus and not some agenda that we wish to carry out. Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

Twinkie said...

Well said, Sterl. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Open hands and letting go

Several weeks ago I ran across an article that described the kind of person that I am to the letter. The writer described a group of people...