I heard that a survey recently was taken and approximately 50% of the respondents said that they wish they could just skip the entire Christmas season because of the added stress, financial and social burdens, and seemingly frenzied heights at which we are told to consume. When you put it that way, I am not surprised. But consider what we would also skip – acknowledgement of the greatest gift that our God has every bestowed upon us – the first coming of Christ. This is not just one of those keep the Christ in Christmas rants that pop up (thankfully) each year. It is also a challenge to turn the tide on this trend. Just consider what this celebration has become, how the focus has turned to the celebration and away from the event. I mean there are people who say they don’t even believe in God or Christ – but they celebrate Christmas. That in itself speaks volumes on how wrong they are in their beliefs, and how far we have strayed from ours. And at what point did it become about giving and receiving gifts – at least to the scale that it has? I believe the three kings had it right – this is a time to bring gifts to God. Bring Him gifts of thanks and praise for His kindness, patience, mercy and most of all, His grace-ful sacrifice – the sacrifice of Himself for our salvation.
This time of year used to be known more popularly as Advent, not Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Advent is for the preparation of all aspects of our lives for the coming of our Christ – praying, worshiping bonding, healing, fellowship, introspection, quiet, peace, hope – the other 50% of Christmas. Don’t let it slip away while it’s still a 50/50 proposition – turn the tide and start by trying to spend at least as much time in each half of the season.
- Give less to those that already have and more to those that don’t.
- Spend more time in communion with God than just when the church parking lot is full.
- Say a prayer of thanks at every meal and one for those that are not sure from where their next meal is coming.
- Stay out of the mall and give that gift of time to a friend or family member that needs you.
- And don’t wait until the end of December each year to celebrate Christ’s coming and what it means to your life. (And if you are not sure what it does mean than go find out.)
These are the gifts on God’s Christmas list. Do something different this year and give God what He wants. Let me know how you do and I will do likewise….Merry Christmas (and say that instead of ’happy holidays’.)