Christmas day is just about upon us. I don’t know about you, but I am ready for it to get here – all this preliminary stuff is wearing me out!
All the activities, the kid’s programs, the mandatory parties, the endless decorating, the coming and going, the shopping, the buying (whew!.. there’s a lot of buying!), the family gatherings (spending time with people you only see once a year), the pressures of work, the urgency of finding (and purchasing) just the right gift for everyone upon your ever-expanding list, the shopping (yeah, there’s still more shopping to do), and on and on. It’s all so chaotic, and draining…
The funny thing is… when I was a kid, I don’t remember Christmas being this way. I only recall the eager anticipation of waking up on Christmas morning (before daylight, of course) to see what “Santa” brought you, and then, after I dragged my parents out of bed, getting to open all those presents.
Christmas, back then, was magical. It was the highlight of the whole year.
Now, it’s just… frantic. And exhausting. And, in so many ways, more of a chore than a treasure. Just how did it get to be this way??
Every once in a while, I have to remind myself what Christmas is all about.
It’s about how our Almighty Creator “laid aside His Godly privileges” (Philippians 2:6-7) and came to this earth to live among us, to walk “in our shoes (or sandals, as the case may be),” to share our joys, our sorrows, our pains, our tears – and eventually, to take all our sins upon Himself, and suffer and die in our place.
That God would rather die than live without us, still warms (and humbles) my heart.
Christmas is all about God with us – sharing all that it means to be human.
Christmas is all about how a God of infinite love offered His very best, so that we might be able to come to know and love Him, personally – completely free from our guilt, our sin, and our shame.
Christmas is all about that one moment when heaven came to earth as a child in a manger.
We really should celebrate that moment. We should celebrate Christmas! We should probably celebrate that moment every day of the year (maybe, that’s what it truly means to be Christian, after all).
But somehow, all that seems to get lost in all the frenetic “hustle and bustle” that is Christmas these days.
I don’t know if there is anything we can do to change the way things are. Maybe, I am making too much of a negative thing about how people “do Christmas” now (After all, there really are some wonderful things about the Christmas season!).
I just know that there is something deep within me that longs to go back to that stable, and that manger, and capture the fullness of that moment that really IS the most important moment in all of human history (see Galatians 4:4-5). In that one moment, God did something totally amazing, and infinitely unexpected – and He did it all for one reason only… LOVE!
At the heart of Christmas is enduring love. Love that gives unreservedly… and unconditionally. Love that came and showed us what love truly is. Love that is openly available to every heart who will pause and reflect upon that moment when Love came to live among us.
And, just maybe, I need to remind myself that love transcends everything that is wrong with this world (and also with the current “expression” of Christmas).
If, in the midst of all the nonsense, we choose to reflect upon love, and focus on love, and act in love – perhaps we can bring the true meaning of Christmas to those who need it the most.
Come to think of it… that’s exactly what God did for us on that very first Christmas day!