For the last few weeks it seems everywhere I look there is a Christmas special going on. From the beginning of December to the 25th of December we see them everywhere. Retailers want you to notice their Christmas special. The media is filled with messages seeking to draw our attention to one important message after another…and we soon learn to tune them all out. It’s just another Christmas special that we don’t need and don’t want.
One of the many hazards of the Christmas season is how busy we choose to be by filling our schedules to the brim with concerts, parties, and a million other Christmas related activities. Many of these are good, some are actually important, others are more or less obligatory. In the midst of all this frantic activity it is easy to lose sight of why we do this, and just go through the motions in order to “get through it”. I am guessing that if one were to ask a sampling of 100 people why they go through all the trouble of celebrating Christmas as we do one would get about 93 different answers ranging from “to get into the Christmas spirit” (whatever that means) to “because we’ve always done it that way”.
The purpose of this post is not to trash on the reason you choose to celebrate, but simply to challenge you to think about why you do the things you do during this season. For instance, if the reason we celebrate is about family getting together, then the shopping and gift giving and turkey eating makes some sense. If it is all about getting into the “spirit of the season” by getting trampled in a Best Buy on black Friday – hey, I pray that you survive and enjoy the experience.
Many of us we claim that the reason we celebrate is to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ over 2000 years ago. It would seem to me that if this is so, there should be at least a few things that we do that would connect us with that event. Exactly how we do that might be vastly different as well, in our family it usually involves several of the following: (not necessarily in this order)
– re-reading the account of His birth in the gospel account with the family (this reminds us of the main event)
– involvement in a Christmas Eve service at a local church (where songs are sung and the story of His birth is typically revisited in some creative way)
– making music (mostly Christmas music, but not limited to that, music has a way of touching the spirit which words alone cannot)
– getting together with family and/or friends (reminding us that Christ came to give us fellowship with God and one another)
– a few lights and decorations (reminding us that Jesus called Himself the light of the world, and that His coming changed everything)
– a special meal together with family and friends (I’m not sure there is any specific connection to turkey other than in my head – but to me turkey, mandarin oranges, candy, cookies and soda pop tell my tummy its Christmas)
So, however you choose to celebrate this evening and tomorrow – I wish you a very special Merry Christmas!