"Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!"
"Jesus is the reason for the Season!"
We've all heard the cliches. We all know that over two thousand years ago "a child was born in Bethlehem" and his mother "wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger" and he was visited by shepherds and wise men. But somehow, I can't help but feeling like a hypocrite. Am I celebrating the birth of my Savior? Or, am I buying into the propaganda trap of spending money on things I have no business spending on? How did we all fall victim to this marketing scam? Yes, I know, I know- the whole "spirit of giving" thing. I get that we
I want my kids to know that we celebrate the birth of our Savior. (And they do.) I want them to know that it is a very special day and it holds much importance. We should remember it every year! But, this year, I am struggling with the connection of "getting gifts" to "Jesus' birth". It's not about GIVING gifts anymore. It's all about the GETTING. That's what disturbs me. That is what is tugging at my heart. It's the fact that I'm worried about my kids being disappointed that they didn't get every single thing on their "christmas" lists. And, how do I keep them from being more focused on the presents than the Gift? How can the "momma" in me want to lavish presents upon my children and the "daughter of God" in me want to take it all back and make it Holy in the name of Jesus?
Don't get me wrong. I am not "the grinch who stole Christmas" or "scrooge". I love getting together with family- especially those that we don't have a chance to visit with most of the year. I also love to give things to others, especially, when it's something thoughtful that I think they will really enjoy. I love the holiday games and decorations and food! I love to see the kids so excited about something that they must wait patiently for. I love the excuse to dress up and present my family at it's best. I love the nip in the air. I love the music. I love being woken up too early on CHRISTmas morning by my anxious little children who are amazed at a living room full of presents! I love CHRISTmas~ it really is my favorite holiday. I just wish that we could keep what's Holy, Holy! I wish that we could stop pretending that we are celebrating Jesus birth with trees, ornaments, gifts, and too much food. I'm not saying that those things are wrong, but, we should remember to acknowledge Jesus on His birthday.
I ache to see what CHRISTmas has become to so many. Even though we KNOW "the reason for the season", we are so pressured by too many responsibilities and obligations that we can't enjoy the holiday for what it is. I have fantasies of a simple CHRISTmas. One where stress levels go down instead of up. One where we become more gentle and kind with one another instead of harsh and impatient. One filled with the sweet excitement in the quiet moments of life instead of hurried dread. One where time is an appreciated gift instead of a rare commodity.
Am I going to take CHRISTmas back? Well, not this year, and if I'm being honest, next year will probably look pretty much the same way too. The gifts are bought, most of them are wrapped. I am buying into the whole thing- hook, line, and sinker! But, maybe, just maybe, I can celebrate Jesus all year long this year. Maybe I can make the extra effort to try to be more patient with others. Maybe this year I can go out of my way more often to do something special for others. Maybe this year I can strive to become a better version of me. Maybe I can spread CHRISTmas throughout the whole year!
"Take care! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don't shout about it as the hypocrites do- blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don't tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4