It seems like every Christmas I get caught up in the commercialism of this season without my consent or clear intent. “Why does this happen every year?,” I find myself saying. I decided to pose that question to myself, most recently, by being a little more objective toward this holiday than usual. That’s very difficult for me. I love the true meaning of Christmas but I also will admit that I love all the festive decorations- along with the manger scene. Sometime back, I remember hearing a sermon in church about how all the traditions we make year after year actually have some basis in the original Christmas story. That made me feel a lot better about making myself crazy trying to think of the perfect gift, making a mental list of what I would like myself and being dazzled by decorated trees, Christmas displays and new products especially for the holiday.
The last few years I haven’t had the money or the time to have the kind of Christmas most people celebrate. I have purchased very few gifts and made more by hand the last couple of years, when I could spare the time. I have sent out Christmas cards to those I hold most dear. Because of what probably appears to be lack of caring, the gifts I’ve received have been dwindling, as well. There are probably quite a few friends and family members who are wondering what happened to the nice presents I used to send or give and have responded in kind- they believe. This can really change the color of Christmas to pale hues if you allow that to happen.
What I have found is new hope in the message from 2010 years ago. The gift comes from promised salvation, cheer from knowing God’s love is really there and joy in my heart for a brighter future because of a blessed child born in a stable so long ago. Love is bright and new every year because one man was born into this world expressly to redeem it. What’s not to celebrate?
Christmases yet to come will most likely always contain some element of the way the world wishes to celebrate it. Many of the traditions have taken Christ out of the equation. Have you noticed there is always a substitute? There is Santa instead of Jesus, presents instead of love and partying instead of true joy. There is a very good reason why people fall into unexplained depression this time of year. It isn’t because the Christmas miracle failed us but our imitations of the real and true reason for this Holy Day.
Frank Sinatra sang the words, “Whatever happened to Christmas?”, years ago and it makes me grieve a little to hear it but unnecessarily so. Gaining Christmas back only requires our rethinking of our priorities and remembering what brought about its existence. Our celebrations were never meant to be a substitute. They were only the additions which expressed new found joy in our hearts upon hearing that God sent His son, Jesus to die for our sins. They are the fringes not our focus and we would do well to keep all of that in the background. There is a lot to be thankful for which can’t be seen with the eye.
Christmas must be felt in our hearts.
It must be believed in our souls.
Today is a day of rejoicing.
Let us sing…
God is with us.
and blessings for the coming year ahead,
The Castle Lady