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And So This is Christmas

christmas-tree-in-woods.jpgIt’s that time of the year where everyone is rushing around, making preparations for the Christmas Holiday. Grey Thursday, Black Friday and Super Monday have all come and gone with the throngs of shoppers packing the stores and waiting in line to get those great sale items that the stores super stock just for these days. People are running around, trying to find that last special gift, getting those last items to finish off the magnificent Christmas dinner they have planned.

As the families gather around the table for that special dinner prepared by mom, grandma or another family member, there will always be the one or two empty chairs held in honor of those who have left us in this last year. Stories will be told of Christmas’ past, both funny, sweet and sad. Everyone will have that one memory of the Christmas that meant the most to them.

I have often told of my favorite Christmas, the first one back with my mom and older sister after six years in foster car (because my mom was ill). I related that even though we were pretty poor, it was that much more special because we were all back together again as a family. There were certain aspects of it that stood out such as the fact that we all made our gifts for each other, we chopped down our own tree and made our own decorations. The fact that it was all done with love for each other and as a family is the real reason I remember it as my favorite Christmas. There have many Christmas’ since that one, some good, some bad, some sorrowful and sad.

I don’t participate in the throngs of people on Thanksgiving eve or day that rush to the stores to spend obscene amounts of money just to impress or outdo other family members and friends. I don’t search for that one over the top present to impress anyone. Sure, the grand kids, the small ones will receive something, while insignificant to the professional shopper, means the world to them because it came all the way from Missouri from grandma and grandpa, and each year I try to make something handmade for each of them, to express our love for them.

Christmas seems to have become so commercial that I fear most people have lost the ability to focus on the true meaning of it. They don’t worry about teaching their children why we celebrate Christmas, but worry more about what electronics they can buy to please them, to act as automated babysitters so they can sip their wine after the meal, get on their cell phones, laptops and other devices to see what everyone else is doing. They no longer understand the value of this special day.

My first real Christmas was in 1993. That was the year I accepted Jesus as my savior and king. Being a new Christian, I still had a lot to learn, but my life had already begun to change. I remember sitting in the pew on Christmas Eve, watching the play the drama team had put together, and it was there and then that I realized the true meaning of this special day.

God sent his son, who could have refused to come, as a mortal man to die for our sins. How many of you would really give up your son to save mankind. Human nature in each of us would look for another way out, another way to save the world than sacrificing our own flesh and blood.

As you finish up your preparations for this Christmas season, stop and think about what you are showing everyone about how you feel. Are you extending the love of Jesus, or are you pushing your way rudely through crowds of people? Are you instilling in your children the significance of this day or are you trying to find that last electronic device they so desperately want?

Isn’t it time to bring back the real meaning of Christmas, spending time with family celebrating the birth of Jesus rather than the spending of the all mighty buck?

I leave you with that question and pray you will all have a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year.

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