It’s that time of year again. Lots of decisions to make. What gifts to purchase? What to serve for Christmas dinner? When to decorate the house? Where I am generally not a people pleaser, at Christmas I tend in that direction. To keep myself balanced, every year I make a decision to find something I can do to please myself.
Christmas means different things to different people, some purely secular: giving (and receiving) graciously, parties, helping those who have less, spending time with family and friends and remembering those loved ones who are now gone. While remembering brings occasional sadness, it also generates gratitude for having had those people in my life in the first place. I love Christmas glitz: houses flooded in lights, presents under the trees—even artificial trees, Christmas music piped through store loudspeakers, motorized Santas waving to children in shopping carts who are exclaiming, “Mommy, look at all the toys!” And while many complain about cranky shoppers, my experience is that people are friendlier at Christmas—willing to smile and give a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” greeting.
I am a Christian, and for me Christmas has both a secular and a spiritual meaning. I’ve often heard from pulpits that Christians celebrate the day that “Jesus came to earth to save us from our sins.” This statement, though true, has never been my focus. I don’t dwell much on sin–especially at Christmas. There are those who might say I should. 🙂 It feels like a bit of a “Debbie Downer.” Christmas is a time when I celebrate that God did not abandon me to this crazy world. Rather, He sent Jesus to show me how loved and cared for I am and how to care for others. Matthew 22:37-40 says, “Love the Lord your God with all you heart . . . soul . . . and mind,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” I celebrate His lesson of love this time of year.
God’s Love is not all I celebrate. I celebrate the purpose His coming gave my life. I’m not an evangelical type; it is not my gift. I knew that when I was twelve. Our church/school instigated a door-to-door campaign to invite people to worship. They wanted the school children to participate. I declined to do so. (Not a popular decision.) I told God (yes “told”) if he wanted me to speak His message, He would have to bring the listener to me. I wasn’t chasing after anybody! Funny thing is, there have been many over the years who asked me questions regarding my faith (and presented the opportunity to speak). I know my purpose is to fulfill His will for my life, to do His work as a small cog in a big wheel, to be a good wife and mother, to use the gifts He has granted me—hopefully, one of those being a writer—in responsible ways.
I celebrate the family I have. I celebrate the opportunity to give and receive–and to remember those who have less. I celebrate “glitz.” I celebrate His coming—that He did not abandon me here, which means so much to this abandoned child. I celebrate that God is love—and He wants me to know it. And I celebrate His purpose in my living. That is a great deal of celebrating, and I am grateful for yet another opportunity to do so.