Hallee the Homemaker linked an article on Christmas that got me to thinking. I don't want to tell anyone whether they should or shouldn't celebrate Christmas, nor do I wish to tell anyone how it must be done. I simply wish to share some of my thoughts on the matter.
Long before Thanksgiving I began seeing on facebook diatribes on Christ in Christmas --from both sides. Non Christians (and even some Christians) asserting that Christmas is a pagan holiday, those of faith insisting that Christmas must have Jesus as the centerpiece. Some that I've begun deleting as soon as I see them start out with, I don't care if this offends anyone. That's great, if that is how you feel about it. Personally I think the politically correct business needs to stop. On both sides. If someone says Merry Christmas to me, I say it back. If someone says Happy Holidays, I return Merry Christmas to them, also with a smile. If I know the person celebrates Hannukah or Kwanzaa I extend greetings to them for their holiday. And yes, sometimes I do say happy holidays because there is more than one being celebrated during this time of year.
As a Christian, I do celebrate Christmas, but although I enjoy the Christmas carols speaking of Jesus birth, I don't celebrate it as a religious holiday. Nor do I think we should spend every penny we have plus burn plastic to make everyone's wishes come true. It is great to want to spoil the children (and adults, lets be honest here) a little. Mom's had her eye on a Kindle Fire, Dad wants a new set of golf clubs, Suzy wants an electric guitar and a doll and five hundred other things that catch her eye. One popular store sent out a catalog of nothing but toys all with little boxes beside each one. Hand the booklet to your child and let them check off all the toys they want. Easy shopping! I can imagine that most kids would have marked off most of the items in the thing. Or, as I like to tease my husband with a catalog of rubber stamps and papers and the like, hand it back with the answer Yes please. One of each, thanks.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with one or two gifts per person. Take some time, realize what you can realistically afford to spend, and figure out what the person really wants. If you can't afford to spend money, either go in with one or more loved ones to buy just one special gift, or make something. As much as I like gadgets and pretty things, I adore items that took more time than money. Can't sew or craft but everyone loves your desserts? Bake one up and maybe tuck in a coupon for a free cooking lesson or two from you.
To get back to the main subject of this piece ( i do tend to get sidetracked on certain things, sorry) I've been thinking that sometimes we tend to get so focused on keeping Christ in Christmas, that he may lie dormant in our hearts until the obligatory time to think of his death and resurrection --Easter. Also a holiday with pagan roots. Although we pretty it up as well with chocolate crosses and religious stickers for the eggs, what do bunnies and eggs have to do with Christianity? Again, nothing wrong with the Easter Bunny as long as we aren't worshiping him. But....But. Shouldn't we be reflecting on Jesus and why he came here on earth more than just twice a year?
The bible tells us we should be commemorating his death, burial and resurrection each first day of the week (Sunday.) There are more than one Sunday each year, usually 52. Scholars tell us that Jesus was most likely born in the spring or the fall. I have no idea because I haven't studied it enough. I'm content with the knowledge that the bible does not tell us the date, and since the date for many other things are mentioned, there must be a purpose for the omission. We can reflect on his birth at any time of the year, certainly at this time, but any other time as well. While we think of his birth, let's remember why he was born. He didn't stay a baby. He grew up to teach, and to heal, and ultimately, to give his life in exchange for ours if we will only accept that gift by hearing, believing, repenting, confession, being baptized, and living the life.
This year, my family will be at worship service on Christmas, barring any reason such as illness. We wont be there because it is Christmas but simply because it is the first day of the week. We will be with the church (the people) to worship, to partake of the memorial feast (the bread and the fruit of the vine) and to fellowship with other Christians for a bit. To gain spiritual strength for the week. Then we will go home and enjoy time with family, and friends too hopefully.The more the merrier. Bottom line? Keep Christ in every day.