The trouble with this particular line is that many people who are entering this jolly season, well, aren’t jolly. It is as though the joy of the season has been vacuumed right out of their skin. Stay with me on this for a minute….
People will take the next six weeks and spend their time, money and energy on trying to figure out what to buy someone. More effort, currency and thinking will go into who we have to buy for and what are we going to buy them because they have no legitimate need. I know, I know – it is the thought the counts, right? Or is it?
How many of you reading this have been given the ten or fifteen dollar gift that you smiled and kindly said you appreciated (which should be done, that is mannerly) but the gift ended up in the next church yard sale? A person spent their money on something, well because they felt that they had to buy you something. Could we alleviate people’s burdens and ease their Christmas debt by letting them know, “You really don’t need to spend any money buying us something, instead can we purpose to have dinner?” Which brings more joy and lasting memories? The give it away as soon as possible wrapped nicely gift or the time invested in deepening a relationship? Hmmm…..
I have just really been thinking about this whole Christmas event. Christmas is not about you and it is not about me. Christmas is about him. Him being the baby that was born in the manager. Him being the gift that was sent from Heaven, the one who came to the sin filled world just so that we could have eternal life. Wow, do we miss it. At Christmas, we should not be so focused on the gifts to buy but on the gift that was already given, Jesus. And I know, we go to church and set up our nativity scenes, we even sing the songs, “Away in the Manager and Joy to the World,” but so do the non-believers, so what sets us apart? What are we doing to bring our undivided attention to him? What are we doing to share this wonderful gift that is free and costs nothing? Whom are we giving that gift to? Who are we sharing the good news about Jesus the baby born to be crucified?
I am sure some of you reading may think I sound extreme. It is okay, I’m a big girl and can handle it. I am just so heavy hearted about Christmas and reevaluating my own thoughts, practices, habits and disposition about the holiday – all because I had this thought, “I do not even want to shop for anyone this year. It takes time, energy, money and leaves me feeling stressed and pressed.” What is the point? For me to go into debt, be stressed about who and what to buy, to give to someone to take three seconds to rip the three dollar wrapping paper off and put in a garbage bag to pollute the Earth? I don’t know, friends, deep in me feels like it is so much more.
I want to celebrate for what Christmas is…. the celebration of God who became man and entered this world only to live and die for sins he did not commit, but that I committed and you committed. Who else can show us that love?
If anything, I hope that this blog helped you to just think about why you are celebrating Christmas? Christmas isn’t presents. Christmas isn’t Santa Claus. Christmas isn’t about being in debt which is completely opposite of what God instructs in the Bible about managing our belongings, including money. Christmas is about the love poured out from heaven that came forth as a baby born in a stinky animal filled stable only to grow up to be a man who rode a donkey, carried a cross and was nailed to it, though innocent.
My prayer is that myself, my family, my friends and my readers would all take some time and truly think about why you are doing what you are doing? Just because everyone else is? Just because the commercials and stores say you need their products? Truly be thoughtful this season, seek Him, share Him with your family, friends, neighborhood, etc. Let us come out of Christmas this year with true joy, less debt and a happy heart because we didn’t allow the world to define our Christmas, we allowed Jesus too.
If you are wondering…..
Yes, I will buy gifts. Yes, my children will have a present to open. No, I am not revoking and putting all traditions in the trash can, but I will be buying less for people and limiting my dollars spent and in exchange for spending time with people and growing in our relationships with one another. That my friends will be a gift that won’t end up in the yard sale. I am going to continue to pray, reflect, seek and decide what Christmas will look like for our family and I sincerely pray that you do the same.
May these scriptures from the Book of Luke ignite our spirit for Christmas and lead us in the right direction of celebration:
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 1:1-12