Today, we have a guest post. Justin is a friend of mine from way back – almost 20 years. Facebook is what keeps us connected today. I trust you find his message as appropriate for the season as I did.
“Set aside all the “fluff” on Christmas, get to real thing”
For the past several years I have not enjoyed holidays much. Last year, even putting up a tree and decorations was only in my hopes of “feeling” some type of Christmas spirit within me. I could give you a list of all the reasons I have felt this way for so very long, but I have come to the conclusion it is because of the simple word “expectations”. I could easily add the phrase “current circumstances”.
And, this day as I pen these words, the same feelings resonate within me. Last year and the year prior, I told myself “Next year will be better; just you wait and see!” NOPE. This year “circumstantially” has by far been worse. And, my expectations have been reduced to “zero”.
It begs the question I must ask myself – “What is the real purpose for celebrating Christmas?”
Is it the time spent with family aiming to replicate a Norman Rockwell painting version of yesteryear? Is it the expectant spirit of hoping to celebrate days gone by with an even bigger boom than ever before? Is it the hope of celebrating the blessings of the year that have far exceeded any other?
Well, if the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, the reality for most of is “How is that working for you?” Most likely, it is not.
So I am left to conclude for me, if not all of us, it is time to refocus! And, for me, specifically, to remember Christmas has nothing to do with me or even the ones I love on this planet. It truly is a Holy Day. The time spent with family and friends in harmonious relationships is merely an added bonus. And what about your current circumstances? For most of us there are always reasons for rejoicing and times of trial running concurrently . It is called “living in the real world”.
So, what about Jesus; the Christ child? Well, first I can clearly say the Bible does not command we celebrate the birth of Christ on this given day we call Christmas. Yet, I can also tell you it should be a reason for celebration for all Christians every day of the year. I do like the special emphasis placed on Christmas Day based on its original intent.
Obviously, commercialism and the Old Saint Nick mentality has made this day a dual celebration as secular and Christian beliefs are fused together. Santa Claus is fun and I enjoy gift giving more than anything, especially when my children were young and after the arrival of six perfect grandchildren. I find nothing wrong with this merging of tradition for, symbolically, Christ was the greatest gift we have ever received.
Often times, the expectations, especially for young married couples with children to share this holiday with in laws and outlaws has added to this “repurposing”of what a Christmas holiday should be. There is always the easily offended mother or mother-in-law who wants their kids and grandkids with them for this significant day. The stress added to the holiday is enough to drive anyone crazy. I find it comical that most Dads merely care about the football games and good grub instead.
So, you see, the purpose of holidays, especially Christmas, gets so convoluted. Watered down. Made less than intended.
I would suggest to any and all out there, including myself. “Forget about your circumstances. Forget about your personal heartaches for a moment. Forget about where your married children are spending Christmas and all the reasons you are entitled to have them. Focus on the miracle of the birth of Jesus! Focus on the eternal love of our Heavenly Daddy. “
Thanks be to God for the gift of the Savior who has made a way for each of us to be in right relationship with a Holy, merciful God. Thanks be to God for His sustaining presence through each and every circumstance we face in this life. Exalt our heavenly Father for the expectancy of hope that causes us to walk in peace each moment as we face the trials and suffering of this life. Praise be to God for the joy that is ours in Him alone!
All the rest is “fluff”. Let us join around the Christmas table this year, whether with family or friends, or even if you happen to be alone, and mediate on the beauty of Christmas. Emmanuel; God with us. This, my friends, is THE reason for celebration!
Sacred Lives Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Justin after his grandson Brady was born in 2008 at 22 1/2 weeks weighing 18 ounces. They distribute coffee table size books to hospitals and other places where there message of hope and encouragement will help others. Please take a moment to look at their website.
Thanks for stopping by, y’all come back now.