This is the season where the focus of those who are the disciples of Christ *should* be on the joy and celebration of His birth, and what it has meant to our world.
Yet... the voices are getting louder from those who are saying "enough is enough"... where is the true celebration of the Lord's birth in all of this?
To be honest, as I've read through the book of Acts, it certainly doesn't seem that the Christians there spent as much time (or any time) celebrating and talking about the birth of Christ, as they did His death. Have you ever thought about that?
I've certainly wondered about it. We know specifically that they set aside a special time to remember the death of the Lord by celebrating the Lord's Supper. Nowhere else do we read of any celebrations taking place in memory of the birth of Christ.
Researching the topic of Christmas is enormous, and hard to put into a comprehensive understanding of just how Christmas was initially celebrated. The most plausible explanation comes from the fact that Christmas actually began as a solstice celebration where people could celebrate the winter holidays, and the Christians thought it would be a good time to celebrate the birth of Christ, and so the two celebrations were joined together.
There is much discussion about just how much "Christ" needs to remain in Christmas. Is celebrating Christ's birth at this time of year something we need to do, and something we need to take a "stand" for? Or was celebrating the birth of Christ really just begun because the Christians of that era wanted to find something to celebrate in December that wasn't pagan?
It has certainly given me a lot of food for thought... but please do your own research, and don't just take my opinions at face value.
So... the whole cause and case for Christmas - however you choose to celebrate it ~ if you want to give beautiful generous gifts, and decorate your home in a grand way ~ or if you don't celebrate Christmas at all ~ it is not for me to say you are right or wrong.
But in my heart ~ this year ~ as I long to be pleasing to the King of Kings who loved me, and died for me... I feel an unwillingness to participate in the typical celebrations that are taking place this time of year, especially those that are focused on the more material aspects of the holidays rather than on Him.
I even have tried to put out a few items of Christmas decor by going into our storage building, and finding them packed at the very back with furniture, and all kinds of things piled on top of them. I didn't have the heart to pull them out anyway, because I really don't even have room in our tiny living room for them. So perhaps it is just as well!
This year... for us, the Christmas will be a quiet one. I do look forward to this time of year to giving a small gift of love to those family and friends who we love, and I don't think the Lord sees anything wrong with that, and celebrating on the day we call Christmas with family and friends and enjoying a meal and fellowship together, and our hope is to keep it full of love, laughter, and joy.
So if you have your home decorated with all the beautiful things you love this time of year, and your heart is full of joy for the gift of love that came to us through the birth of Christ, I do believe that is pleasing to the Lord too.
It all depends on where your heart is!
And that is really what is important. Where is your heart? Is all that you are doing this season because you want to glorify the Lord? Are you truly celebrating the beautiful gift He imparted to us as He robed himself in flesh, and became a man, taking on our sinful nature, in order to redeem us from ourselves?!
What a joyful thought it is to know, and understand that the very Creator who created me, cared enough to walk the dusty paths of this earth in order to experience for himself the very human nature that He created, and to offer hope to the hopeless. It is a thought that I really never can wrap my mind around, and I never want to lose the wonder of it.
I pray that wherever you are in this Christmas season, whether your celebrations are big or small, that most of all, you will open your heart to the joy that was brought to earth 2000 years ago in the form of a small child, God robed in flesh... oh the wonder of it all!
The song "Mary Did You Know" never ceases to bring my heart to tears of joy. Here it is, sung by the co-writer of this amazing song, Mark Lowry ...
May your Christmas be blessed, and full of the knowledge of the most beautiful gift ever given to mankind, for the gift that has never stopped giving! My heart never wants to stop praising Him for the difference this gift has made in my life.
I pray that this season of celebrating His birth be a beautiful one for you, surrounded with the presence of the Lord, and the beauty of the knowledge that the greatest gift given to mankind is yours today.