Christmas is one of those times that is so layered with emotion that I am never quite sure how to approach it. On the one hand, I am blessed and thrilled to celebrate that the Son of God Almighty came into our broken and deprived world for the sole purpose of giving us—us—true life. That, if anything, merits the most sincere rejoicing and celebration. And on the other, is the sickening materialism that permeates our country (and more tragically, the Church). That to say, Christmas and I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship.
For the last year God has blessed me with the opportunity to work in the retail industry (I started a year ago last Oct.). While working there I’ve met several people who actually hate the Christmas holidays. This shocked me. I grew up in a home where we celebrated Christmas to the max (sometimes without giving/receiving gifts). That time was a time of joy and worship and thanksgiving for the boundless gift that was given nearly two thousand years ago. Working with people who honestly hated Christmas was like trying to make 1+1=3. It just didn’t add up.
Seriously though, I have never seen a more disgusting display of human nature (even from those who were apparently “Christians” –they were wearing Christian apparel and purchasing Christian books). People were literally fighting over items that would presumably be given as a gift. In one eight-hour shift I came to understand how people could hate even the celebration of Christ’s birth. We (as a culture) have so entangled this holiday in what we want and what will get for others that we are missing point: these weeks are not for giving or receiving!!! They are for worship, thanksgiving, and rejoicing that God gave us hope. He loved us so much that gave us hope by giving His only SON into our sinful diseased hands to be murdered (John 3:16). He did that so we would have opportunity be in fellowship with Him.
Over these days of celebration remember what we are celebrating. We have been given the opportunity to spend these days away from school and work to thank Him for what he did. That is not an opportunity that should be soiled by more greed, selfishness, envy, or jealousy. Remember that He was born to for the sole purpose of dying in our place; let that focus color the way you shop, celebrate, and relax this Christmas. Jesus Christ is the ultimate gift, and that gift is for you. Merry Christmas!
Did you know that Zachary is a avid rock climber?!
Did you know that Heather's favorite food is mac n cheese?!
Photograph property of Lilies Among Thorns Magazine. Photograph taken by Heather Young.