And so begins another festive season of retailers gleefully opening their doors at the most ungodly hours of the night - at least, the owners are, I’m not so sure about the employees. Holiday tunes waft over the intercoms, bright lights spring up all over, and parking lots fill with those selling Christmas trees.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. I enjoy Christmas. Really, I do. Especially since our children came along, the joy of the season has increased. But amid all the wrapping papers, sappy music, food, food and more food, I have to wonder if something has been lost. I mean, think about. We’re not even past Thanksgiving (I refuse to call it Turkey Day)– a day traditionally set aside to give thanks for our many blessings – and already our senses are being bombarded with ploys to help us expand our ever increasing pile of stuff. You can ask my wife – I hate being asked what I want for Christmas. I haven’t delved deep enough into my psyche to determine if it’s simply because I don’t want to bother thinking of something or if it’s some sort of semi-conscious rebellion against materialism. I’m inclined to think it’s more of the former than the latter.
Or perhaps it’s something a little more personal. Christmas should be a time of celebrating God’s gift to us – His Son, Jesus Christ. Yet every year, we’re faced more and more with the stark reality that the true meaning of Christmas is being swallowed up in the buying and the giving. Where it gets personal is the realization that what I am seeing played out in the economics of it all is the reflection of my heart during the entire year. Oh sure, I might go through the motions of “remembering the reason for the season” as it were, but in all honestly, is Christmas time the only true time that I really stop to ponder the Gift or the Giver and how I should be affected? Perhaps all the yuletide buying, giving, receiving, eating, traveling, sleeping, working, planning, and general running around simply show us a condensed version of what Christ sees in us all year long. I’m so busy with the stuff of life that I relegate Christ to an afterthought instead of celebrating HIM as life itself.
This year, instead of getting all crotchety about the trappings of the season, the season should cause some inward reflection and repentance on my own busyness of the year and my forgetting the gift I have in Christ.
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”