Christmas Spirit

:::WARNING:::
If you are a huge fan of the consumer Christmas Season (the lights, the shopping, the gifts, trees, decoration, etc.) I highly encourage you to stop reading immediately.  This is going to be a post filled with the ranting and ravings of a crazed individual who dislikes what Christmas has become due to our obsession with things.
:::END WARNING:::

Every year I am asked what I want for Christmas (and my birthday just over a month before) and my list usually consists of two to three items that I don’t really need.  The simple fact is that I am simply content with what little I have (and sometimes I think I already have too much).  I know it’s frustrating for family, but I don’t always get that warm fuzzy feeling throughout the Holiday Season unless I am spending time with those I love and care about.

Christmas has never been about gifts and lights, Santa and the reindeer, or even snow and the long winter nights that are upon us.  The origins of Christmas are shrouded in Religion, pagan rituals, and the need for the Roman Empire to convert the world.  Early followers of Christ did not celebrate his birth, but the simple fact is that tradition now calls us to reflect on this day when God came down in the form of an innocent child and his only Son was brought into the world, to live and die as a sacrifice for sin.

It is part of the greatest love story mankind has ever encountered.

I can go into the history of Christmas and how many of its origins and traditions were stolen from the pagan world that stood against the vastness of the Roman Empire, but the simple fact is that our society has lost the meaning and spirit of Christmas.  What was once a simple day to remember Gods love for mankind has become an industry of greed and money.  In some ways, we have reverted back to the “pagan” ways of the past, forgetting the reasons why we celebrate.  Each year, we seem to slip farther and farther into the darkness of night.

In some ways, I hate Christmas.  I cringe each time I hear holiday music (especially before Thanksgiving) or see decorations pop up in stores as soon as the pumpkin kits and costumes are put away.  I hate the consumerism that has corrupted the holiday.  And sometimes I just want to tear down all the strings of lights in the neighborhoods and rush past the elves in the mall just to punch Santa in the face just for the symbol that he has become.  But I restrain myself and smile as the children’s faces are lit up by the Seasons Greetings.

In some ways the Christmas season does not lift my spirits, but reminds me of how much we have slipped away from God.  I do not cheer and sing as loudly as I once did, for I know that God would be appalled at what this day has become.  We have made idols out of Christmas lights, glorified St. Nicholas more than God himself, and have forgotten that Jesus was a fugitive at birth.

Our society has made a mockery of the birth of Christ, and each year I am ashamed to be part of it.  It’s no longer Christmas that we celebrate, but Festivus (for the Rest of Us).  Gifts, presents, and shiny things have distracted us from the truth of the season.

“Keep Christ in Christmas” is a sad saying that reminds us that we Christians have been distracted by the consumerism that is now the holidays.  We need to keep Christ within our hearts and keep persistent in our pursuit of God.  If we can do that, Jesus will be in everything we do and we will not forget.

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 shown around them, and they were terrified.  But 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 the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger”
….
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.
Luke 2:8-12, 16-19

She pondered all these things in her heart.  And so should we.

I don’t hate Christmas.  I just despise everything around it that distracts us from God’s gift to the world, from the birth of a child that saved the world, from the love story.

I guess, like my wish list, I like to keep everything simple so I am not distracted from the work of God in our lives.  Christmas is about God, love, and family.  Treasure these things and remember them always.  Stay focused on the works of God in your life, and follow the path that he has laid at your feet.

Reflect on the Child that was, is, and is still to be our Savior.

God Bless and PEACE

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