Keeping Christ in Christmas
December is my favorite month of the year. Everything feels cozy and everyone seems happier. It is the perfect time of year to let people know how much they mean to you. And when you are showing people how much you value them, it can be very easy to get caught up in all of the trappings of the holiday.
I used to love walking around and looking at Christmas lights and holiday decorations. But not any longer. Now it seems like a competition: who can have better lights, how can have the bigger displays, whose yard looks the prettiest? So much work, and for what? What do you win? God doesn’t care about who has the most strands of lights or the largest holiday inflatables. Having a plastic choir of angels on your lawn doesn’t give you passage into Heaven.
The same thing happens with gifts. It starts with kids. They want the biggest thing, the most expensive new toys even if they don’t play with all the other stuff they already have. Many people don’t appreciate the things they’re given. They’re too busy thinking about what they didn’t get or who didn’t reciprocate. Sure, it is nice to get something that you want and will appreciate, but remember the expression “it’s the thought that counts”? Why doesn’t that matter anymore?
Sometimes you just have to put aside all of the stuff – all of the trappings, the decorations, the expensive gifts, the need to out-do one another. You have to remember the point of it, the reason behind all the good cheer. The most important thing to remember during the holidays is that God loves you enough to send you his only Son. It is the birth of our Lord Jesus that is the cause of all our rejoicing.
That certainly is worth celebrating, but not by buying extravagant gifts or putting yet another giant object on your lawn. Luckily, there are much easier ways to show your appreciation for the greatest gift ever given, and it was given to all of Mankind.
First of all, the best way to celebrate is by going to church. You can sing joyous songs and hear the stories celebrating Jesus’ miraculous birth. I love going to midnight mass for the candlelight service. I look forward to it all year! And singing “Away in a Manger” lifts up my spirits every single time!
Another great way to celebrate is by being kind to others. By all means, acknowledge the people in your life that mean something to you. That’s a great thing. But include those you do not know as well. Jesus believed in treating all people with love and kindness, and what better way to celebrate his birthday than by doing the same? There are homeless shelters who need food and clothing, and children who have lost everything and need to believe in the goodness of the world once more. You can be that for these people by giving just a little of yourself. There are plenty of charities looking for assistance at Christmastime, all you have to do is reach out. It is a great way to celebrate in His Name!