Somehow it always seems to happen. In spite of all the early promotions of retailers, in spite of those pesky neighbors who seem hell-bent on announcing EVERY major or minor holiday in grand fashion, and in spite of self-promises to not be caught off-guard again . . . there it is — the Christmas season.
Before that leftover turkey has undergone its radical transformation into soup or salad, the guilt and fear sets in. Guilt, because you get so tired of breaking those promises year after year. Fear, because there’s so much to do and so little time.
Yes, every year we seem to try and cram more and more stuff into the same 20-some-odd days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Shopping and parties and programs and banquets compete for lines on that crazy calendar. You know, the one we used to keep with pen-and-paper — but which many of us now keep electronically so that it can be properly synchronized with the work calendar, the family calendar, and whichever other calendars are integral parts of life as we know it.
In a matter of just a few days, the calendar looks like a multicolored patchwork quilt, with each event assigned its own category and level of importance.
Well, maybe yours isn’t that bad. But in church life that’s not too much of an exaggeration. I love getting together with people — not that I’m really the life of the party — but I enjoy hanging out over a couple cups of hot cider and a few too many of those calories that come on way easier than they come off!
Of course, sometime in between all that shoppin’ and hobnobbin’, the Christmas cards have to get done. And our list seems to grow significantly each year.
Yes, this is Christmas. Busy, bustling, brimming with opportunities for social engagement. Friends, family, and fellowship.
Why, it’s a spitting image of the first Christmas, isn’t it?
Well, not exactly. Rather than trumpets and fanfare, there was a pretty silent night. Rather than loads of people with beautifully decorated homes offering invitations, there was a simple expectant couple, weary from a long journey, looking for a place to stay the evening. Rather than gripes and groans about an over-extended schedule, there was a generous amount of gratitude for an humble stable and a kind-hearted inn-keeper.
As we get ready for the Christmas season, let’s remember what it’s all about.
It’s not about festive parties . . . brightly-colored packages . . . or fruit-flavored punch.
It’s not about cards . . . or calendars . . . or candy.
It’s not about nutcrackers . . . or eggnog . . . or even the nuts in your family tree.
It’s about a love story.
“For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
God loved you so much that He sent His Son to come to earth and live as a human . . . to dwell among us . . . to walk where we walk.
With Christmas we celebrate the biggest “I love you” ever spoken.
Love came down. The stars beamed. The angels rejoiced. And the world was forever changed.
Don’t let all your stuff drown out that message. It’s the greatest message the world has ever known.
Take time to enjoy your holiday season . . . and to proclaim the real reason for the season wherever you may go.