The Reason for the Season

This year my husband and I decided to celebrate Christmas a little bit different. We decided to not bring out any decorations, to not buy a tree or any presents. Yes, the reality is that finances had something to do with that decision, but honestly there was more behind that train of thought. As I grow in my walk with Christ, I have become disappointed with the world view of Christmas, so I guess this was my way to rebel against it. Money or not I could still have decorated; I have in my house enough decorations to light up the neighborhood. It was just not in my heart to do it this year, and since I don’t have children that would miss it, my four-legged child might actually appreciate not being poked by the tree’s needles in her attempt to steal the water from the bottom, and my husband was in agreement so I was able to get away with it.

The other day at the grocery store, the cashier asked me if it was ok for her to wish me a Merry Christmas. Since I’m already on my soapbox about it, I told her that she absolutely could and proceeded to tell her that nothing more was appropriate to be wished during this time, why? , Because without Christ there is no Christmas. Happy Holidays doesn’t do it for me. Happy Holidays? What holiday is that? I could very well say Happy Holidays in the middle of July where we are celebrating Independence Day. Is not just a holiday, its Christmas and I understand that we live in a world where not everyone believes in Christ, but respect for believes comes both ways and I should not be restrained from my celebration. I’m not forcing others to share my beliefs, but if you ask me what I’m celebrating… I’m celebrating Christmas!

I also think that commercialization of Christmas has changed the meaning of it all. Yes, it’s nice to take the season to exchange expressions of affection through presents, but even if you look at the story behind Santa Claus, this is not what he had in mind. The legend behind Santa Claus or St. Nicholas is about a monk who gave all he had inherited to the poor and sick He gave from what he had to the poor and the needy. He really didn’t borrow money from credit cards to please his family and friends. He gave to children in need, not spoiled them with a list of what new gadgets some marketing company wanted to sell from us. In fact, he did what Jesus said was needed to entered into heaven in Matthew 19:21(NIV) “ Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” This doesn’t mean that I will never buy gifts for Christmas ever again or that there is anything wrong with that. I think the motives and the mentality behind what we’re doing as a society leaves a lot to desire, especially for us believers of Christ.

 It has also made me think about how we live, in the race for obtaining better and more. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords had absolutely nothing when he came to this earth and left in his glory without any material possessions. As a follower of Christ, it makes me think that if this is who I’m trying to look up to, there’s something wrong in my picture. I’m not advocating for riding to work on a camel or a donkey. I’m also not saying that the television and the cell phones are the root of all evil. But when I look at my house, where there are more television sets than humans living in it, actually even if I count the dog, there are more TV’s than habitants, I ask myself, do you need a whatever thousands of dollar plasma television to be able to see the details on a rose just because is Christmas season? If you want to see the details on a rose, go to your local supermarket, I promise you the experience doesn’t get more real than that and it’s free unless you decide to buy the rose. Some sports fans may say that the experience of the game is incredible and makes them feel like they are in the stadium. It might be true. If you can afford the plasma without having to charge it or pay it in installments, more power to you. The reality is the results of the game will be the same…gasp… even if you’re not watching it! At least make sure that your forty something inches one year old TV goes to a family that doesn’t have one, or just has a fifteen inches television set where the whole family gathers to see the news.

What is wrong with your cell phone? I mean, if you’re clumsy like we are, I totally understand buying several phones during the year. I have dumped a cell phone in a cup of coffee and my husband has washed and dried several, if that’s the case and you can afford the new one, beautiful, enjoy! You just bought the one you’re carrying last month, and just because the company came with the same phone with another name and has one more feature you are ready to spend five hundred dollars on it. Have you ever walked through downtown? It doesn’t matter the city, it’s all the same. Do you know how many people could be fed with five hundred dollars? Don’t go that far. Do you know that your neighbor who lost his job during the economy could save his house or his car with five hundred dollars?

You may say, you don’t have children, you don’t understand. That may also be true, but I think this year my children would go without presents as well. As a parent I would like for them to understand the real purpose of Christmas. This is a spiritual celebration. It’s not just the end of the year; it’s the celebration of the entrance of Jesus. It was God’s entrance into the world in the form of a man to save you and me. Yes it is a joyous time, it’s definitely a time of celebration and of family celebration, but how can you waste when your brother is hurting, how can you celebrate God when you’re entering in debt and not being a good steward of the resources he trusted to you? One of my favorite scriptures during the Christmas season is the nativity scene in the book of Luke, because of the details in it. “So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 1But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told (Luke 2:4-19 NIV)

He was born in a manger, now for those who don’t even like camping; do you imagine giving birth in the middle of animals and hay? I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful for being born in this day and age. I’m really fond of my bed and pillows. At the same time, it’s humbling to think that as we think only about our commodities and our self indulgences, my Lord, who came to give me eternal life is trying to teach me with his life the total opposite. If I was a parent, I wanted my children to understand the same. So there goes my boycott on Christmas this year, at least the worldly view of it. I will be spending the day with family and friends. I encourage you to do the same, but during your celebration take a minute to remember what the day is about. Remember that baby in the manger that came to give you freedom, hope, joy, strength, deliverance, provision and eternal life.

May God fill you with blessings.

Merry Christmas!

                                

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