“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)
The Christmas season is in full swing. The lights are sparkling and decorations in place. The kids are excited about vacation from school. Excitement is in the air…or is it? I went shopping yesterday and realized that the closer Christmas gets, the grouchier people become. While standing in line to get checked out, the people behind me were complaining. They simply could not believe there was only one cashier. They had places to go and people to see at 9:30 in the morning and they could not be bothered to stand in line any longer. One brave, outspoken soul headed over and “politely” asked them to open another lane. They obliged and a crazy mob scene was averted. After waiting a total of about 3 minutes in line, I too was ready to head to my next task. While out in the parking lot I heard people honking their horns at each other. And I thought to myself…Merry Christmas.
This morning I was grocery shopping and for some reason the cashier decided I looked like someone she could share her heart with. I listened sympathetically as the woman told me of the numerous things she needed to accomplish before Christmas. Then she told me her husband’s employer would be closing after the holidays leaving him unemployed. Had she known that she wouldn’t have invited twenty people over for Christmas dinner. She finished her long complaint with, “I just hate Christmas!!” I listened with a compassionate ear and a sad heart. How could she hate Christmas? It’s “the most wonderful time of the year”.
I go through this every year at this time. I look at the world around me during this season and realize how far we’ve moved away from the true meaning of Christmas. We, as a culture, have made this season one of overspending and overeating. We have become stressed out and irritated because of the pressure we feel to produce a perfect Christmas. It’s sad really. I find myself doing it too. I’m no different than the grouchy people around me. I feel the need to make everything be just right. I want to produce a memorable holiday. I want to bless my family and friends. I want everyone that touches my life to know I appreciate them. But why do I have to wait until Christmas to tell them? Hmmm.
Last year in school, my daughter’s teacher read the class a book. I don’t know the name of the book but it was about a mouse in search of the true meaning of Christmas. He climbed the Christmas tree asking the different ornaments what Christmas was all about. One ornament said it was about presents. Another said it was about giving. A third said it was about spending time with family. When the mouse finally reached the top, he asked the angel what Christmas was about. The angel told him it was about a baby.
Christmas is about a baby. It’s about God coming in the flesh to live here on earth among us sinners. It’s about a Father’s love so great that He would do anything so we could be with Him someday. That’s worth celebrating. As I continue on for the final two weeks of the season, I want my heart will be turned toward Jesus. I want my mind would be focused on Him.
Help me Lord to remember the reason we celebrate.