Everywhere you turn you see Christmas cheer. Decorations are going up, multi-colored lights and inflatables appear in every other yard, and dollars are flying out of wallets and purses quicker than you can sing “Glory to the Newborn King.” You hear Christmas music playing through your…radios. (Don’t roll your eyes! I don’t know what kind of method you use to listen to holiday music.)
However it happens, the season seems to go to extremes. It either promotes excitement and joy or depression and resentment. It also appears that the distance between the two seems to get shorter every year
I remember a much more relaxed time. (No, I’m not a hundred). Shopping for gifts was fun with your friends; you sat down and watched Christmas specials with your family; there were Christmas programs in the schools and churches. Not anymore, though. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find time to do any of these things. Shopping? I find myself looking at Amazon for gifts that can be delivered. Programs? I resent having to go to holiday musicals when I should be home cleaning the house. TV specials? There was a special?
It’s work, work, work. No time for rest.
To accommodate this lifestyle, the world is changing. Stores are putting an emphasis on shopping online. Some are even closing their brick and mortar stores in favor of an online presence. My daughter fell victim to that very situation, losing her job here at Christmas time. I wonder if other areas of the world are experiencing the same economic shift.
Can we slow down and take a breather?
Is that even allowed? Come on now. Let’s be honest for a few minutes. There are some things in life that we have no control over, and there are some things that we do. I think that most of the chaos of the season is more than likely self-inflicted, don’t you? If we’re completely honest with ourselves, I think we can all agree that we load our schedules with more activities than necessary.
It doesn’t take long for us to stop enjoying family and friends, the simple pleasure of wrapping gifts, and sipping a cup of coffee while snuggling under blanket in the dark to watch Alistair Sim play Scrooge in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. (Okay, you can sip hot tea or hot chocolate or wassail, but I’m having coffee.)
Why do we have to march to the beat of the world’s drum? As a believer, I want to enjoy this time and truly celebrate the Reason for the Season. I reflect on the fact that God loved me so much, He sent his Son to die for my sins. I just want to think about Mary holding that tiny baby in her arms–her son–God’s Son.
How did she react?
Do you think she counted his toes, examined his fingers, kissed his head? Do you think that Joseph looked at this infant that wasn’t his flesh, but the Son of God and wondered why God chose him to help raise His son? Did he feel he wasn’t ready? Was Mary full of joy and wonder while Joseph worried how he was going to provide for the Son of God? I wonder things like this. And now I want to relax with a cup of coffee and visit with my family.
Are you ready to celebrate this season? Will you choose to slow down and spend time with the Baby Jesus this year and celebrate His birthday? Life is mostly about choice. Will you choose to look at the manger and see what the baby has for you? I hope you will.
God bless you in this Christmas time and keep you all through the new year.
The story of Christmas
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.