As Christmas season descends upon us with all its glitz and music and food and festivity, I am completely overjoyed. Each year I look forward to the holidays more than you can imagine. I force myself to wait til November to begin listening to my Amy Grant Holiday pandora station, I start my shopping early and the day after Thanksgiving that Christmas tree better go up! It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year.
Nevertheles, I hear from people ALL the time who dread this time. They speak of the consumerism, the stress, the repetitive holiday music, the family drama…you name it and it’s bad and a reason to hate the season. Whenever I hear from these people (who I call Scrooge under my breath) I am truly saddened.
For you see, that’s not what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
Christmas is about the best thing that happened to planet earth. It’s the single event that separates Christianity from every other religion. It’s a time to reflect on the most incredible collision between heaven and earth, on a starry night when the savior of all mankind put on skin and bones and chose to dwell among us. He chose us, he wants us, he did all of this for us.
When I think about Christmas, I’m so happy at all the songs that talk about Jesus, and I’m thankful for all the people who hear the gospel in a Christmas carol on the radio.
When I think about Christmas shopping, I’m thrilled to invest time and money in a gift to someone I love dearly. At what other time of year do I get to pick out something special just because? As I shop and hunt for the perfect gift, I’m reminded of the Perfect Gift, given to us at the greatest cost.
When I think about Christmas, I’m brought to tears, because it’s one of the few times during a busy year that I’ll get to see my family. Despite our disagreements and drama, I love them and I love that we have a whole day to enjoy each other and laugh and eat and reminisce.
When I think about Christmas, I wish it lasted all year long, and I’m inspired to celebrate it all year. Why must we confine the most wonderful thing to a 25 day countdown??
Through the miracle of Christmas, we have Emanuel-God WITH us. We have reason to jump for joy, to shout from the rooftops and sing to the hills–we have a savior and a friend and a king who is coming again.
Christmas isn’t a day. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a daily reminder to be thankful. To love each other. To share this story with everyone we meet. So the next time you think about Christmas and furrow your brow, I hope you’ll think differently. It’s all a matter of perspective. If you go into it expecting to lose money and sleep and your temper, you probably will.
But if you go into it expectantly, eagerly and excitedly, oh the wonder you will find. (And maybe you’ll find your heart isn’t two sizes too small after all;)
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. For those who lived in a land of deep shadows— light! sunbursts of light! You repopulated the nation, you expanded its joy. Oh, they’re so glad in your presence! Festival joy! The joy of a great celebration, sharing rich gifts and warm greetings. The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants— all their whips and cudgels and curses— Is gone, done away with, a deliverance as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian. The boots of all those invading troops, along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood, Will be piled in a heap and burned, a fire that will burn for days! For a child has been born—for us! the gift of a son—for us! He’ll take over the running of the world. His names will be: Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. His ruling authority will grow, and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings. He’ll rule from the historic David throne over that promised kingdom. He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing and keep it going With fair dealing and right living, beginning now and lasting always. The zeal of GOD -of-the-Angel-Armies will do all this.”
Isaiah 9:2-7 MSG