He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalms 91:1

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Tis the Season

   Several years ago, when it was time to decorate for Christmas,  I was weary, tired, overworked, overcooked and down and out.  I was facing the towering task of decorating the tree, the house, the porch, designing a Christmas card, addressing it, figuring out the gift thing for all the family and friends, then searching and buying it, wrapping it and then on to the parties and food, and the family Christmas gathering...................

  Whew! I am tired thinking about it. But, that year I thought I would just like to SKIP it, fly over it, blink my eyes and it be January second or third or else bury my head in the leaf pile out back.  I sat, that cold December day, on my couch, surrounded by boxes filled with ornaments, Christmas pillows, Nativity scenes, lights, STUFF.  I wanted to cry.

I need to say, here, that I love Christmas!  I love the music, the decorations, the festive feel in the air.  I am giddy as a child over beautiful lights on houses, store decorations, gushy Christmas movies.  How could I want to skip Christmas, my favorite time of year?  But all the work brought overwhelming sense of DREAD.

How could I, a- Christmas over-doer, a- Christmas carol junkie, a- fill every corner with Christmas kind of person, feel like I wanted to pretend it wasn't happening? After all, it's Christ's birthday!

I realize we don't know the exact date of Christ's birth, but it is the date we CHOOSE to celebrate since we don't have an exact date.

So, will  I CHOOSE to honor Him, the most important birthday celebration ever in the history of the WORLD, or feel like it's all just too much?

 At that point I had a serious sit down with my Savior.  I told Him I was burdened by all the hoop-la and the work.  I was weary that I was doing most of it all by myself.  I told Him I loved Him, but was all this overkill?  After all, haven't we commercialized Christmas?

I sat on my couch and remained silent.  I cried.  Then I wept.  I was sorry I felt that way.  No, it's not about the gifts, it's about the CELEBRATION.  I realized Christmas is giving,  doing,  and decorating as we celebrate a certain birthday....

The music celebrates the season.  The season is the celebration of the BIRTH.  The food represents the feast- a feast in honor of a babe born that would save our sorry souls.  The gifts are given out of love (or they are suppose to be!). Our love should represent our love gift from our Christ.  The tree-well, the tree in our house is just a tradition of Christmas.  It may come down from a long ago ritual of some pagan kind, but in my family, it just means we are in celebration of Christmas!  Period.

That day I made a promise.  I told my Jesus, whose birthday we would celebrate,  that every part of that decorating would be to glorify Him.  Every ornament would be for Him.  Each light would represent the Light of the World-Christ.  Every gift would be because His most precious gift was what He did on the cross for us.  I would not grumble or complain.  I would enjoy it to give Him the gift of my gratitude.  I would not feel pressured to decorate, but what decorating I did would be my gift to HIM.  Not for me, for my family, but for the One who saved me.

The world HAS commercialized our Savior's birthday.  We can look at that and think of it as all evil.  OR we can turn that around, and say, look, all this started because we are honoring the most important man, God's Son, who walked on earth. The whole world (well, nearly the whole world) has given gifts, thrown big parties and feasts and lights and music to recognize that Christmas Day is special.

 It certainly is!  A little baby was born in the most humble of dwellings, surrounded by animals, to a very young mother, who, no doubt, was scared to death.  The angels heralded His coming.  He was worshipped by shepherds (a prelude to what He would become) and visited by important men who left expensive and precious gifts~we call them WISE MEN.   He grew up and became a shepherd of people,  a teacher, a rabbi, a friend.  Then He was executed and became the Lamb that was slain.  Then, Glory to God, He rose again!

That, my friends, is what Christmas is all about.  I hope to always remember that when I am weary of the STUFF and business of Christmas.  I can choose to do a little or a lot, but whatever I do, I will do it to His glory!  I will honor His birthday and be humbly grateful to Him for what He did for me.

As I decorate for this Christmas season, I will praise Him,  honor Him, and wish Him a Happy Birthday!