Without the right focus, our Christmas too easily can become Christ-less or Christ-mess.
Posted in , Dec 3, 2014
We all long for a Christmas filled with wonder. Yet the stress of the holiday season wears us down. The spirit of Christmas can get lost in the midst of the hustle and bustle.
The long lines, the endless shopping list, the Christmas parties and the financial stress of the season can make us indifferent to the true meaning of the holiday. Without the right focus, our Christmas too easily can become Christ-less or Christ-mess.
I once read a story that captures what can happen to us during the Christmas season. Typical of last-minute Christmas shoppers, a mother was running furiously from store to store. Suddenly she became aware that the pudgy little hand of her three-year old son was no longer clutched in hers.
In a panic she retraced her steps and found him standing with his little nose pressed flatly against a frosty window. He was gazing at a manger scene.
Hearing his mother’s near hysterical call, he turned and shouted with innocent glee: "Look mommy! It’s Jesus–baby Jesus in the hay." With obvious indifference to his joy and wonder, she impatiently jerked him away saying, "We don’t have time for that!"
Here’s how to avoid a Christ-less holiday:
1. Remember the meaning of Christmas… Emanuel, God with us in the Christ Child… God is present with you.
2. Refocus on the birth of Christ… God’s greatest gift to us.
3. Read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ birth and Old Testament passages about the coming Messiah.
4. Reclaim the wonder of the Biblical story. The shepherds were keeping watch at night when the angel appeared to them. Be on the lookout for God’s visit.
5. Rejoice and praise God for all the joy and power of the good news in your life. Mary worshipped God…shepherds praised God.
6. Reach out and love someone this Christmas…maybe a stranger, co-worker, family member, lost friend or someone that God sends your way.
7. Receive the peace of Christ and become a peacemaker in our chaotic world.
What is the meaning of Christmas in your life? How you do to keep the “main thing” in Christmas the main thing? What can we do to bring the spirit of Christ to others in our world? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
My prayer: Lord, may we approach the Christmas Season mindful of the meaning and reason for the celebration.