Christmas ….. Happy Holidays ……. Kwanzaa ……. Black Friday ….. Cyber Monday. So what is Christmas? The stores play special music starting
Halloween or even before urging you to buy. They are so anxious to give shoppers the best deals they stay open Thanksgiving and on into the frenzy of greed called “Black Friday”. Let us not forget the deals we can find in cyberworld on the Monday after Thanksgiving. The message is if you care about someone you will buy, buy buy. So, is that what Christmas is, a time to spend money you don’t have on things people probably don’t want?
Then there is the tree. Millions are cut down every year. There are tree farms where the perfect trees are cultivated and grown for this very reason. Each year families go out and select a tree for their home decorate it with lights and baubles, put all those presents they are told by retailers they need to give to love and feel loved. Then in 2 or 3 weeks they will take that tree down and drag to the curb. Just another piece of trash.
Maybe it is all those parties. People have a lot of parties during Christmas. Oh, so much fun, perhaps, if you go. They can also be a source of pain, drink too much, forget yourself, do something you never would have done. Have you ever noticed the smiles on so many of the party goers, so plastic, so fixed.
Then there is the music, makes you feel so warm and tingly inside. The cookies, the fudge, the goodies that come in from everywhere!. An extra hour of workout this week! Now don’t forget all those TV specials. The kids jump up and down, watch for a bit and somewhere along the way you realize you are watching “Rudolph” or any of the myriad of Christmas specials they run year after year after year. You can sing the songs along with the characters you know them so well.
All these things can add to a feeling of happiness, warm fuzziness, or they can lead to despair. So many are alone, so many cannot face their family again with no job, no money, no tree, no gifts. All that happens for other families, not for them. Those who are single often feel a pain, a lonliness. They just want to get through the “holidays” and get back to normal.
So, as they say in the song, “Is that all there is?” You make yourself get all excited, then you don’t know why but you feel this … emptiness. No, that’s wrong, this is Christmas! How can you feel sad? Empty? How can you be asking “Is that all there is?” Well, if that is all you look for, the tree, the gifts, the parties, yup, that is all there is. But there is more.
Christmas is the Day of the Savior’s birth. It is a religious holiday. It is the day Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity left His heavenly throne to come to earth as a helpless baby to lay in a trough, a place where animals ate. To live a human life, to stub His toe, scrape His knee, to have to listen to Mom and Dad, to be hungry and thirsty, to have to submit to elders. All the while having been the One who created the universe, the earth and all that was in it.
As you truly dwell on the enormity of that, of what Christ gave up to come here, to Earth, to allow beings as sinful and insignificant as mankind to mock Him, nail Him to a cross all so we could be with Him in Heaven. As we consider Christ’s whole reason for coming to earth; to teach us how to love, to die on the cross so we could join Him in heaven. NOW things are starting to fall into place. Now we begin to see why those other things left us feeling a little empty, now we begin o understand the rest of the story. For it is not just a babe in a manger, it is the decision of a loving God coming to live and walk among us. To allow us in our conceit and false wisdom to nail Him to a cross and allow His physical body do die, only to be reanimated proving His conquest over the grave.
Some reject this offer of love, of mercy, of forgiveness of sin, they turn instead to a god of hate, lies, and cruelty so we see scenes like this using their hate and love of anarchy and violence to claim to fight for their god. They steal childhood from children, kill indiscriminately, rape, torture, all in the name of Allah. I feel no joy in this, my outward joy, it is measured.
We live in a world where the very standards upon which this nation was founded are now considered not politically correct. We live in a time where our leaders do not lead, where “Black Lives Matter.” Today, babies can be killed when half born because a woman has a “right to choose”. In today’s world, all that Jesus said was right is now criticized and what He said was wrong was applauded. We live in an age when public prayer is forbidden as is mention of God. Our post modernistic world is one of the most humanistic, hedonistic civilization that ever lived.
As long as we have children who go to bed hungry or cold, who cry themselves to sleep because they or their parents may not survive the night. As long as we have such hatred in this world as to allow families to die of cold or starvation as happens in Syria right now; as long as we have drive-by shootings that kill innocent children so some punk can qualify for a gang, I take little joy in the trappings of Christmas. Oh yes, the tree is up, the presents in all their profusion are slowly making their way under it. Plans for a feast that will leave everyone groaning from too much food are in full swing, and I will love all of it. But in my mind’s eye, I will see the children I sponsor who may not survive because they are in the wrong place to be Christian, I will see little children forced to kill, others dead because of the cruelty of a belief. I will think of those who have given up, who can’t face another Christmas alone or without a job and I will think of the Reason for the Season, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are His flock and He is our shepherd and He will look after each of us as lovingly as we see Him nurture the lamb in His arms. My spirit is in my heart, in my prayers for those I know in harm’s way,
So before you buy that next present, you know, the one you forgot for Uncle Joe? or Great Aunt Penny, stop and offer a prayer for the protection and provision of those not as fortunate, take a name off that tree in the store, slip a dollar in the Salvation Army Bucket. Help to make someone else’s Christmas better than it would have been.
Christmas spirit does not come from shopping, TV shows, carols, or any of the trappings. It comes from remembering why came to this earth and why.
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL, A GOOD NIGHT!