As with many holidays, the days leading up to them are hectic, exhausting and can be frustrating. Looking for that perfect bird for dinner. Trying to find all the fixings, most of which have been completely picked over.
Yet through all of this we seem to pull the holiday together and enjoy the company of our family and friends. Afterwards, we are left with a mountain of dishes, napkins to be washed, tables and chairs that need to get put back where they came from. Spills on the table clothes, or worse yet, spills on the carpets and floors!
And once again, we get through all of that. We are satisfied that we have puled off yet another Thanksgiving Day. What follows next can only be described (at least the was I see it). Is three and a half weeks of insanity. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, endless emails extending black Friday and cyber Monday deals all the way until Christmas eve, or even New Years Eve.
The continual barrage of the holiday season is in full swing (from the end of October) until Christmas eve itself. Have you noticed that the stores place Christmas stuff up two weeks before Halloween?
Then on Black Friday, the season kicks off with a bang! As the old Carrol says, “Strings of street lights, even stoplights Blinkin' bright red and green as the shoppers rush home with their treasures!” 1
As wonderful and peaceful as this sounds and may have been at the time the song was written, has been replaced by “People pushing, people shoving, trying to get that special thing, (that the store only has 50).
Then we begin the process of preparation once again, cleaning the house, decorating the house, finding all the things we need for Christmas dinner. Wrapping (endless wrapping of gifts) losing our tape and scissors in a pile of gift wrap. Then it is the big day! The kids, or grandkids, run to the tree and destroy all the work you put into wrapping, within seconds. The squeals of joy and happiness feel the room almost to the point of needing ear plugs.
After a successful morning of present opening, and cleaning up all the gift wrap, it is time to start working on Christmas dinner, cooking, place settings, seating charts (yes, I have seen this before). Your guests arrive, and the festivities begin! You enjoy company and a meal together, talking and laughing and then its over. Once again you are left with dishes and cleaning and, well what ever one needs to do to return their lives to normal.
However, in all our preparation, our decorations, gifts and dinners. Our shopping and cleaning, stressing and fretting, have we actually stopped for a moment to think about why we celebrate this day? Over the years, Christmas has changed over the past century or so. It has become more of what can we get or give, rather than looking at what we have been given. It has become more of parties and trees, decoration and wrapping paper rather than a child who was born more than two millenniums ago.
We seem to have lost sight that we have received the greatest gift that humanity had ever been given on this day, so many years ago, for Christians this should be a day when you reflect on what we have been given, and not on the material things we have been convinced, makes Christmas what it is.
For the Christian, this time of year should be one of reflection on the perfect gift given to us, that would one day, atone for all the evil we have done and all of the sin we have committed. Christmas is a time we need to consider the amazing hope that was presented to us in the person of Jesus. It is in the spirit of giving that we are Christians should look beyond all of the giftwrap and lights. We should take the time to see those who need something more than we need that extra package to place under the tree. We should be willing to look beyond the narrow vision of our homes, but to the wider vision of the community that we are a part of, as Christians we should be willing to give of ourselves. We should look to those people who are not as blessed as we are. We should take the time to make a difference in their lives, as God makes in our lives. Jesus was a gift that touches all who are Christian, as he has touched us, we in turn need to take the spirit from which he was given to us, and share it with others who need our help, others who need someone to care just as God cared for us.
Maybe you are not Christian, or religious, then I would ask that you consider this time of year as a way to help others. In this spirit of giving you take a moment to make a difference in someone else’s life. Take the time to bring some joy into the life of those who are not as fortunate as you are. It wont take much, may be provide a meal to a family in need, of a coat to someone who is cold. This simple action of generosity can make a profound and lasting difference in someone’s life.
This Christmas season take the time to look past the gift wrap and bows, the trees and decorations the parties and lights. Take the time to understand that, as Christians as humans, we must take the time to look past the hype and look towards others who could us some human comfort. God brought comfort to us those many years ago, so should we give comfort now.
Have a blessed holiday season
1 Silver Bells Bing Crosby, Carol Richards
Pastor Lisa Chachula