Around this time of year, depending on how you were raised ,you may get into the mode of trying to make the 'perfect Hallmark moments" and orchestrate in your mind how you hope things will go. Striving for perfection is a dangerous practice to get into because it can lead to discontent. Things need to flow naturally and just because so and so throws a Christmas open house does not mean you need to do likewise. As a matter of fact I think Jesus is thinking "Why are they stressing so much over putting up lights, going to parties,making gingerbread houses and finding the perfect gift?" Do we stop in any of this commotion and realize what Christmas is really about?
I know when I have wanted the perfect Hallmark moments they backfire and I get disappointed. This is not what Jesus wants I am pretty certain. Peace on earth good will to all men is supposed to be the mantra of the Christmas season but we can tend to make it into anything less. Too many obligations, thinking you 'have to' make cookies when no one needs the calories anyway, lighting the house with "Griswold family Christmas style", comparing your humble abode to say the friend with a humongo home, planning parties or caroling. Christmas should be a joy and a pleasure and a time to reflect upon our saviours birth. I for one decided about 4 years ago to not send the traditional Christmas cards in December and , if you are like me and after several military moves, the list can reach upwards of 200 folks. I decided to not stress myself over this and make my cards New Years or Valentines Cards. This was so you can relax over the normally busy season and enjoy family, friends and festivities without the looming chore of sending cards. People tend to appreciate the cards more in January when life has settled back down to semi normalcy. So in January I design a photo New Years card through my local Wal Mart and leisurely send these out.
Added to all this are company parties and school parties if you have children. You have to decide who is Christmas about, Santa or Jesus? When we rush to buy needless gifts that someone does not want it adds to frustration too and gift cards seem so impersonal.When you have small children in the home it is good to start traditions such as making ornaments, attending a live Nativity scene or Christmas play or a Walk Thru Bethlehem, buying gifts for needy families through Angel Tree ministries, donating to Salvation Army or Toys for Tots,sending packages to troops overseas, doing a shoe box ministry,donating a warm coat to a homeless person or giving to food banks. This way the children can take the focus off of 'me' and what they are getting and think of the joy of helping others and giving to others. Putting someone else before yourself in other words. A local Christian radio station here in Huntsville has what they call "Christmas Prayers" where you can put a needy person in for a prayer which is usually a material item they need. " A Wonderful Life" is a great movie to watch each Christmas to show the true joy of giving.
It seems at Christmas we all seem to get nice. People visit nursing homes and take gifts. Meals are donated. Folks help out in soup kitchens. But what happens the other 11 months of the year? The spirit of the Christian Christmas is definitely alive and it does make you feel better to give but why not try to make this giving a year round thing. People still have needs January thru November.
If you sit back and think about it ,who is the author of confusion, comparison and discontent?(See 1 Corinthians 14:33) It is certainly not the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the enemy , Satan who wants us to lose our peace, not feel good enough, put ourselves down, compare our self to others and all the rest. The time of year when we are to be joyfully looking forward to celebrating the Saviours birth should be one filled with love, joy, peace, patience, goodness and self control such as the fruits of the spirit mentioned in Galatians Chapter 5. Be thankful for what you have and find ways to bless others. This is the true meaning of Christmas, not trying to run up credit card bills that take a year to pay off. Luke 6:38 says "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
To read the account of the birth of Jesus go to Luke 2:1-21.
PRAYER: Lord God as Christmas approaches we once again take time to reflect on its true meaning. We know for many this time of year can bring profound sadness and grief due to being alone or having recently lost a family member or friend. For many they have no happy memories of this most important day. Father we ask you bring comfort to those people and help us look around us and see someone who looks like they could use a helping hand, not just at Christmas but throughout the entire year. In Jesus Name.Amen.