Christmas comes only 1 time a year. It is celebrated for 2 days. A year consists of 365 days. Something that takes a small percentage 2/365, or .073 if I calculated right. (Be kind, Math is not my friend.) Less than 1 % of the year. For something that takes such a small amount of the entire year, it is a big deal. A really big deal. Why is that? It is our Lord and Savior’s birth. That is a big deal! But is that really what people are celebrating, spending so much time and money chasing after. Is that why you can find Christmas merchandise on display in stores many times by July now? I feel like this has gotten way beyond the celebration of Jesus’ birth and has become something else for many people. When I searched for images of Christmas to use for this post, I got everything except Jesus. When I searched for nativities, I found what I was looking for. To me that says a lot. No Jesus in Christmas images.
For some people, Christmas and other holidays brings sadness. It is a reminder of loss, not celebration. Why? Because their lives are lived without the joy of family or a loved one that has passed. So the holiday is a reminder of their loss, not a celebration. The media has done a good job of painting a picture for us of the perfect holiday, complete with a huge meal and a happy family gathered together. Yet for many in this country alone, that is not the reality. Broken families abound and there will be no “merry” Christmas.
For others, it is a time of added stress, trying to complete all the components of the perfect Christmas in a small amount of time with a budget that doesn’t quite stretch to cover all they think they are expected to buy.
We shop, we craft, we decorate, we bake, we party, and in the end, do we really celebrate Christ’s birth?
For me, it isn’t always the happiest of times. I think that started when my children were younger and my family had all moved away so I had no “family” to celebrate with except for my husband’s family. While I enjoyed the kids excitement and joy, it was also a time of loss, missing my family. As my children grew older and have made their own decisions on their beliefs, decisions that haven’t included my faith, there is a sadness for their unbelief. We can’t share in our usual traditions of going to church on Christmas Eve and trying to make some of our celebration about Jesus, instead of the commercial aspect. Many times they aren’t even able to spend much time with us for the holiday. So watching everyone else and their large family celebrations is painful.
This year, since I’m no longer working, I have felt way less stress with the upcoming holiday. With the age and circumstances of our adult children and our grandson who lives on the west coast, we have adapted our shopping to mostly include gift cards and cash. Impersonal, yet always welcome. Since my husband and I do not need the extra sugar and calories, I won’t be doing a lot of baking. I haven’t done any decorating yet and the amount I’m planning on will be very simple and minimal. We have heard good messages in church about our Christmas expectations and how to focus on Jesus and not the trappings of Christmas. I feel that is where I’m at. Downplaying the commercialism and focusing on the Savior. For this reason I feel that I am not dreading the holiday as much as I normally do. I’ve taken the stress, the busyness, the commercialism, the hype, and have gotten rid of it. I’m focused on the joy of a Savior that was brought into the world in a simple way to save us. A Savior who thought not of himself but lived and died for us. A Savior that has no expectations of me other than I love Him and accept Him. I can do that.
Christmas is simple after all.
Christmas is joy.
Christmas is Christ.