What happened to Christmas? Did the Grinch actually get successful and steal it? Did some sort of switch get thrown to diminish it? I don’t really know, however I do know that as I drive around at night, in the neighborhoods, shopping districts, and pretty much everywhere else, I’m seeing less and less of the lights, smells, and signs of what I used to identify with Christmas.
I think that may be what bothers me the most…seeing less of the stuff that had/has nothing to do with Christmas. When I was a kid, we didn’t even consider Christmas until sometime after Thanksgiving. Those who remember back in the day when I was coming up will remember the start of the school year in early September; we weren’t even thinking about Halloween, because we were too busy trying to keep our new classroom schedules in order. It was sometime after we got that memorized that Halloween was upon us, and even then, Thanksgiving seemed a long way off….let alone Christmas.
In the ensuing years, as the commercialization intensified, Christmas started earlier and earlier, to the point that people stopped noticing that the whole Christmas blitz was beginning as early as July.
Here’s where this commentary is going to grow a little hair. Let me start by saying that while I recognize they are really meaningless except to remind people to spend money, I like the pretty lights, the aromas of the special foods, the caroling, and the crispness of the winter air that many have come to associate with the season.
But here it is, the 17th of December…only eight days before Christmas and I’ve barely seen a Christmas tree in a window; except for Christian Stations, I hear very few Christmas songs on the radio; very few are talking about the season, and the luster of the event seems to be waning faster than the Dolphins chances of making it to the Super Bowl this year. In fact, Halloween, a day that celebrates darkness, was a day that most people used to simply buy a few bags of candy for, has increasingly become more popular than celebrating the earthly birth of our Lord.
And that’s the rub I think. We, that is to say, you and me, all of us…we allowed all of the commercialism, all of the nonsense, to cloud the reason for the season. It has come to the point that the ‘celebration’ of darkness has now become more prominent than a decidedly Christian event. Said Christian event now being watered down and proffered using such terms as “winter celebration” and lots of other secular things that are intended to remove its actual meaning.
To be honest, the only thing I really understand about the way we celebrate the season is the giving of gifts. Because Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, the manifestation of God’s love for us, that free gift to all of mankind…we give gifts to each other as a reflection of that unimaginable and undeserved gift of Salvation.
As far as the rest of it, while I still think it’s all very pretty and nice, part of me is at a loss as to the significance of such things as the Christmas Tree, the lights, Santa Claus and the elves, the whole North Pole and Reindeer thing, and all of the superficial stuff that became associated with the second greatest event in the history of mankind. As important as it was and is, the greatest event was not the birth of Christ. The greatest event was why He came and His work on the Cross, because without that saving sacrifice, His birth as a man is meaningless.
A moment ago, I said, “this commentary is going to grow a little hair” and “part of me is at a loss…” Those comments deserve an explanation. Simply put, I’m not really at a loss, because while I always did love the whole “Christmas” thing, I understand how and why all the meaningless stuff was added to the real story, so much so that over time, “the stuff” has overshadowed the real meaning and message of why He came.
Folks, not for a minute am I suggesting that we shouldn’t observe and celebrate the human birth of our Creator and Savior, but I am saying that we need to sweep aside all of the stuff that the enemy has put in front of us to cloud and mask the true meaning of His “not of this world” birth.
After all of the sales have ended, the gifts returned, and blah, blah, blah…we need to rethink the second most significant event in all of history. That being the birth of Jesus the Christ, Emmanuel, (which literally means God with us) who was the fulfillment of God’s promise to mankind that He would bridge the gap created by the original sin of Adam.
My friends, the human birth of Jesus was not meant to be a reason to buy each other trite gifts, decorate trees with multi-colored lights, bake gingerbread cookies, or any of the other “stuff” we have been blindly led and misdirected by the enemy of mankind to do. Instead, His human birth was meant for Him to lower Himself to become like us, so that His much more important sacrificial death on the Cross could become our only escape from eternal separation from God the Father, (that is to say…hell).
In the end what I’m saying is this, rejoice in the season and have fun with family and friends, but by all means never lose sight of the real meaning of His birth and more importantly His death on that Cross, and His Deity proving resurrection three days later.
If you find yourself stuck for a gift to give, the best gift you can give yourself and your loved ones today and forever is to accept His free gift and invite Him into your heart and life…right now, in your own words, at this very moment.
Blessings my friends and have a very Merry Christmas.