Leaves fall from above, and swirl through the air like glitter that dances in a snow globe – fitting since this is December, not the mid of autumn. Seasons seem mixed up here in the Carolinas where the fall keeps its hold while the holidays begin. Outside, the sky is gray and the air is chilly and damp. Inside, it is cozy and warm. Christmas songs play on the radio. I think about the coming of Christmas while also remembering days of Christmases past. Oh, to go back to the magical days of childhood Christmases, or even to the days when our sons were young and we experienced the wonderment of Christmas through them.
Things have changed so much. When I was young, Christmas seemed to be just a two-week window of decorating, wrapping gifts, making, sharing and eating Christmas treats, watching the mail for Christmas cards, and driving at night to see Christmas lights, all in anticipation of the actual Christmas day. For us, the real Christmas celebration began when we went to the Christmas Eve service at church. On more than one occasion, I panicked on the way home, for when I looked up at the night sky, I saw a flying object with blinking red lights and was sure it was Santa starting his rounds. I urged Dad to hurry home so I could get to bed! I didn’t want to Santa to miss me! (It might be noteworthy to add that we passed a municipal airport on the way home. Wink. Wink.) Then, oh, the joy of Christmas morning! I would hurry to the tree to see what Santa brought, usually hoping for a special doll and excited to see what other surprises might await!
Now Christmas starts a week or two before Thanksgiving. Homes, towns and businesses decorate earlier each year. Radio stations play Christmas music as early as Halloween, and Christmas movies start playing before the Pilgrims even reach the shores of Plymouth Rock. “Black Friday” sales begin in early November as stores compete to get the first holiday profits. Last week the Charlotte Observer distributed its heaviest edition ever, a 5-pound newspaper, filled mostly with ads from stores and restaurants saying, “Come spend money here!” In response, people start going crazy for the best deals and trying to be first to get the latest buys. Instead of simple dolls and toys, people scramble for the latest technology, hustling and bustling, trying to get everything done, and making Christmas about all things commercial. Perhaps I wouldn’t mind the 6-weeks long holiday hoopla if people were as excited about Jesus as they are all the commercial aspects of Christmas.
I love everything about Christmas – the lights, music, decorating, food, gift-giving, and celebrations, but nowhere in the earliness of doing all these things does anyone ever say, “It’s time to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior! I can’t wait to celebrate Jesus!” People post pictures of their trees and decorations, but not one image of the Christ child, or even a nativity scene is shared.
It is time to celebrate! It is time to share joy and merriment, enjoy the beauty of lights and decorations, and have blessed time with loved ones and friends; and as we do, let us be sure to remember the true reason for celebrating, the greatest gift all, God’s gift of Jesus!
An angel of the Lord appeared…and the glory of the Lord shone around them…and the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ (the Anointed One) the Lord…and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (many angels!) praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Now THAT is reason to celebrate!
Holiday hugs and CHRIST-mas blessings to all!
To read more about the birth of Jesus, go to http://www.BibleGateway.com Go to Luke, Chapter 2, or do topic search: Birth of Jesus