For me, it's the year Christmas has been bypassed. I love the Christmas season. We usually start all the decorating the day after Thanksgiving and enjoy it until New Years Day when I pack it carefully while watching the Rose Bowl. A giant tree usually stands in the front window, filled with ornaments which are packed with meaning. The house is filled with other things evoking memories of my many Christmas celebrations, both as a child and with our own kids & grandkids. Mom's Thomas Kinkade tree adorns the hutch, her apron hangs from a dining room chair. Stockings, now 1 for each of our 12 grandkids, hang over our picture window. The Christmas village that I carefully assemble each year usually takes up one living room space while the Precious Moments manger scene takes up the other...and on & on.
But this year, although the boxes have been carted down from the attic, they're being taken to storage rather than opened for decorating.
I was feeling really sad about all of this, complaining bitterly to my closest friends, when the Holy Spirit spoke into my heart the words of a song I'd long forgotten:
WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS REALLY MEAN & WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING?
IT'S A WONDERFUL TIME BUT I WONDER IF WE FORGET TO REMEMBER...
THE ONE WHO REMEMBERED YOU & THE ONE WHO REMEMBERED ME.
ON A HILL FAR AWAY THAT SHAMEFUL DAY WHEN HE GAVE HIS LIFE ON CALVARY.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GENTLE SAVIOR!!
No don't get me wrong & mistake what I'm saying. Obviously I love all the embellishments that go along with the holiday season. BUT I have realized this year that those things don't give Christmas its meaning. It's my Savior's birthday! It's the day we celebrate the beginning of His sacrifice of leaving His home, coming to walk this earth, putting up with ridicule, treachery, humiliation, & death in order to secure my salvation. There were no lights, trees, presents, or any other adornments at His birth. There was only a humble stable & a lot of love. The setting was anything but beautiful, but the meaning was beyond our comprehension. I began to take a long, hard look at my attitude & realized that perhaps this would be my BEST Christmas ever - the one that I would be able to truly focus on the truth of His birth without the trimmings. The one that would keep my head in the Biblical story without the secularization which brings such chaos & clutter. This Christmas, I will celebrate what Christmas really means - by giving my heart & love to those I care about & sharing God's message with those who don't yet know why we celebrate it at all. This season will refocus my heart & mind on what truly matters. So what will this Christmas mean to you? Renewing, refreshing, & remembering, through sharing, serving & showing God's love...or one more year of spending too much, sleeping too little, & socializing your way through a season of busyness that you're delighted to finish? It's all in what you focus on!! I hope, like me, that you will have a "not your normal Christmas" as well, & remember why we're doing what we're doing, in order to truly enjoy the meaning of this special season!
MAY YOU HAVE A BLESSED SEASON & A VERY PRECIOUS CHRISTMAS!!