Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas time is here...

So goes the song. Everywhere in town, you see signs of the holiday. The department stores have the old familiar Christmas Carols piped through their loud system; the charity santas are in front of the stores ringing their bells; and shoppers are struggling to smile. I tend to feel like Charlie Brown sometimes. Sure, I enjoy watching the Christmas lights as much as the next person; and I feel an 'awww how precious!" when I see a live Nativity displayed by children of the local church. However, I also feel a sense of... fakeness? Where is all this "love and joy, peace to you, and to you your wassail too!" throughout the year? Maybe I'm just getting older. I just don't enjoy the hustle and bustle like I used to. Yes, I'm grateful for the babe in a manger, but I have to wonder.... do people realize this same babe that we "awwww! how precious!" is the same person that 33 years later, had screams of "CRUCIFY HIM!!" hurled at him?

Is this just a nice Christmas story that gives us pause? Do people realize that this was only the beginning of a long, drawn out plan that God initiated out of love for humanity? What good does it do, to get the warm fuzzies over a nativity scene, when Jesus simply remains a babe in our hearts? What good does it do to give a child that $500 latest video console, when they have not a clue as to why you gave it? Why DID you give it? In hopes of them thinking you're the best parent/grandparent/aunt/uncle ever? Was it out of love seeing their eyes light up? Was it because they would nag you to death until you gave in? The gift really isn't the issue, whether it cost .05 cents or $500. The issue, I suppose, would be the motivation. The reason behind the giving.

I say, give a gift when it isn't Christmas. Not a birthday, not a Mother's Day, Father's Day, any other day... give a gift, just because. The gift doesn't even have to be store bought. Maybe it's a word of encouragement. Maybe pick up the tab of some stranger when you go out to eat. Maybe it's reading to the elderly who can't really see well enough to read.

Maybe, just maybe... the gift can be to yourself. Don't keep Jesus in the manger, please. Recognize that He grew out of the manger, and allowed himself to be beaten beyond recognition on your behalf. Recognize that it was sheer love that kept him on the cross. Recognize that you, along with the entire humanity, have been reconciled. No permission from us needed. Recognize that now that we've been reconciled (forgiven) we have the wonderful opportunity to receive what He REALLY wants to give us. Eternal Life.

Anything else is just...
Bah Humbug!

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