I hope and pray that you had a Merry CHRISTmas and a Happy New Year! I regret that my posts have been so few, and hope to remedy that in the new year.
Having spent nearly all my free time from mid-November until Christmas getting ready, I find myself reflecting on the amount of time and attention I give to Christmas. After mentally sifting through my activities and the motivations for them, I have come to the conclusion that much of what I do surrounding Christmas has little or nothing to do with my faith.
I mean, take a step back and really think about it. Does baking cookies have anything to do with the coming of a Savior? Does buying video games and clothes and televisions and laptops and toys and coffeemakers and much more have ANYTHING to do with Jesus? Only by the slimmest of connections–the Wise Men brought gifts, so we give gifts. Do snowmen and penguins and red and green and trees and lights have anything to do with realizing that God came down to earth in human form, without relinquishing any of His divinity, and saved us all?
Now I am not knocking any of these traditions. I’m not making a judgment on the rightness or wrongness of celebrating Christmas in any manner one wishes. I’m really, most sincerely, not pointing the finger at anyone but myself.
But in doing so, I’m having a very difficult time finding any true spiritual meaning in about 90% of what I have done for years at Christmas. I just spent countless hours shopping for and making gifts, wrapping gifts, decorating, baking, sending cards, and for what? The bottom line is, I feel that I spent most of that time merely to join in on a cultural celebration of an occasion (Jesus’ birth) that should be eclipsed by a much more momentous occasion (Jesus’ death and resurrection).
I truly wonder if Christmas in its current form is a triumph of Satan. He has our attention on everything else much more so than on God. The Bible says nothing about celebrating Christmas. And certainly, the focus of the holiday is only peripherally on Jesus’ birth when you look at it from the world’s point of view. The Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas debate is one aspect of the “de-Christing” of Christmas; there are many others.
What does that mean for me? A rethinking of time and energy spent. Separating out the layers of fitting in, making family and friends happy, not looking like a Scrooge, doing what everyone else is doing, from the ultimate purpose of my life, knowing God and passionately pursuing Him. What does knowing God and passionately pursuing Him look like at Christmas? I’m going to have to figure that out, because I know that what I just did for a month-and-a-half was NOT it.
There were moments of it. Listening to my daughter sing “Away in a Manger” at our church’s Christmas Spectacular (which benefitted camp), the cantata sung by our choir which touched my soul with the spiritual significance of Christmas, giving a Christmas gift to our Compassion child, and a few other quieter moments of the soul where God and I connected.
My mission come next November will be to reach for the soul-feeding moments and modify the rest into something pleasing to God and men. It will be no small feat, if it comes to pass.