It’s Christmas week. For some, it took forever. For others, it arrived in the blink of an eye. Your positioning in the two groups probably has something to do with your age.
We can list all the reasons we might not enjoy Christmas. We can complain about the increased traffic or the mob mentality at the mall or the overdose of Christmas movies or music. We overspend, overeat, and overschedule. We can worry about what to get for people who don’t really need anything. Erma Bombeck found a solution after wondering:
“Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find the one gift that you didn’t have to dust, that had to be used right away, that was practical, that fit everyone, that was personal, and that would be remembered for a long time?” Then she answered her own question: “I made a gift certificate for a flu shot.”
The sights and sounds of the season are awe-inspiring until about December 26th. For some, their favorite Christmas lights are the tail lights of their relatives. Christmas can bring out the Scrooge in us, but I’d rather contemplate what makes the season so meaningful. It would certainly be helpful if we were better at remembering whose birthday we are celebrating.
Mike Slaughter pastors Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio. He wrote a book, Christmas Is Not Your Birthday, where he challenged readers to experience the joy of living and giving like Jesus.
I think of how Jesus laid down the glory of heaven to pick up the grime of earth. All the glitter and lights in the world cannot cover up the desperate need in the human heart. In humility and obedience, the Son would follow the Father’s plan while it leads to a manger, a cross, and a tomb.
I think of a frightened young woman, still in her teens, carrying a child in her womb. She is far from home. She finds herself in unfamiliar surroundings. The only place available to place her newborn son is a feeding trough for farm animals. Perhaps a local midwife has been summoned to assist in the birth.
I think of a man entrusted with a daunting task. He has been asked to provide for and protect his young wife and the child. He has been told of the child’s identity, which has added overwhelming responsibility to the stewardship of the lives under his care.
It seems to me that the best Christmas ever is any Christmas when I choose to remember what matters most … who matters most.