*Disregard the date on this post, not sure why it says it's Sunday. :)
All you have to do is walk into a shopping mall to figure out that we have it all wrong during the Holidays. That statement was not meant as a judgement but, more as an observation. Friday afternoon I went to the mall to run a few errands and was bombarded by crowds of unhappy people and kiosk workers trying to sell me ridiculously expensive body products, hair extensions, and various other things I do not need. A sadness came over me. These people really don't know what this is all about. How would they, really? This is how America celebrates Christmas. We run ourselves ragged trying to buy the "latest something" for "Jimmy" or the cashmere cardigan for "Sue." We're too busy to even smile at anyone or say "excuse me" when you run into someone in a cramped store aisle. We're too focused on ourselves to help the elderly woman who just knocked over a store display with her walker or even help her with her packages. Why are we so timid when it comes to kindness? We want others to be kind to us, right? Now, don't get me wrong, in years past I have been an example of the very thing I am talking about and am not proud of it. I have been wrapped up in all the "to do" of Christmas and have forgotten about what it really is all about. Why do we give gifts? Why do we decorate our homes, have parties and sing Christmas carols? Well, I can't tell you why you do it because I am not you but, I can tell you why I do it.
Over the last couple of years the Lord has done something different in my heart regarding Christmas. I was always concerned about "the perfect gift" making tons of cookies and throwing the best party. Honestly, it totally stressed me out, and who wants that? I decided I needed a heart change, and the only one in the business of changing hearts is Jesus. You see, Christmas marks the occasion when GOD SENT JESUS IN THE FORM OF A BABY TO BE THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD! He came to save the world! He saved the world by dying on the cross for our sins, all of the horrible things we have done, and he did it for us out of obedience to God and great love for us. If he wasn't born, how could he have died, then where would we be? For me, that changes everything. Here is what the Angels said to the Shepherds the night that Jesus was born...
"Don't be Afraid! I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior-yes, The Messiah, the Lord- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize Him: you will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth!" Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others- the armies of heaven- praising God;
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors."
So, when I think about what the angel said to the shepherds "I bring you good news!" I think, "good news shouldn't stress you out." I'm not saying that we shouldn't buy gifts or have parties, or make cookies, or those types of things, those are all a fun and wonderful part of Christmas. What I am saying is that for me personally when I focus on those things alone and not on Jesus, my focus becomes blurred. I want to make the reason I do all of those things because I am celebrating Jesus and wanting to give because I was given to...the greatest gift, the gift of Life in Jesus Christ. It should be an exciting time of love and togetherness celebrating this gift of love given to us. The only way the world will know is if we tell them! So, I have an idea...lets think of some ways where we personally can show Jesus to someone this Christmas. It doesn't have to be a gift that costs money, maybe it's smiling at someone, letting someone have a really good parking spot that you wanted, helping a young mom with her hands full of grocery bags, there are a lot of things we could do. If you have any ideas, please leave a comment...and have a blessed and restful Holiday season.
P.S. If you're interested, Simple mom has some great tips on reducing extended-family stress during the Holidays...Check it out!