It's hard to believe it's Christmas already and that not only is it the end of another year, but that the end of another decade is upon us. It seems like just yesterday that we were celebrating (and some panicking that all our computers would shut down) the new millennium and now we're already a decade into that new millennium. But the year's not over yet and Christmas is upon us in just a few days. Normally by this time, I'm very much in the Christmas spirit, but for some reason I'm having a hard time getting in the mood this year. Perhaps it's the stress of all I have going on at work and trying to get things wrapped up before the end of the year, or maybe it's the stress of the busyness of the season, or perhaps it's just my growing frustration with the rampant consumerism we all seem to get so obsessed with this time of year. I'm not pointing fingers on that last one. As hard as I try, I get just as caught up in it as everyone else. I miss the innocent days of Christmas as a child when there was no stress and it was just pure joy.
But it's not just at Christmas, it's throughout the year. In our obsession to always get more stuff we seem to have lost sight of what is truly important, our relationship with God and one another. Most of us relegate our relationship with our Creator to Sunday mornings, if we acknowledge Him at all, instead of living each day in communion with Him. As a result we've become self absorbed. We've lost our sense of community and what it means to really look out and care for one another. How many of us really know our neighbors? Instead of caring for the poor and needy, we're more concerned with buying the next big thing. Again, I'm as guilty as anyone and as hard as I've tried I continue to struggle with it. We've allowed our lust for more stuff to cloud the true meaning of Christmas.
However, the more I've thought about it, I've realized that this is why God sent is son, Jesus, into the world in the first place. Because when things are left up to us, we tend to screw it up pretty badly. Heck, we can't even celebrate the birth of our savior without letting sin enter into the picture. No matter what I do or how hard I try, I cannot break free from my own selfishness. I cannot do anything to make myself right with God and be the person He has called me to be. For that very reason Jesus gave up his place in Heaven to become a man in order to live among us, teach us a better way to live, and ultimately die a brutal death on a cross in order to provide a path to God that we could never walk on our own. His birth and death provide for us the hope of eternal life. And not only life after death, but our lives here and now as well. This is the beauty of Christmas that Christ, the Messiah, enters into the darkness and shatters it with light so that I am no longer a slave to my own selfishness and sin. This reality frees me to experience Christmas with the same joy I did as a child.
So while it's good to enjoy the gifts, time with family, Santa Claus, the pretty lights, parties, and Christmas trees as these are all good things God has blessed us with, Christmas is ultimately about a baby born in a stable over 2000 years ago. But not just any baby, the God of the universe lowering Himself to become a man and do for us what we could never do for ourselves. Knowing He would be despised, tortured, and killed, He came anyway, in fact for that very purpose. I admit that I can't fully grasp why God went about it the way He did, but I'm grateful that He loved me so much that He did.
Now I'm starting to get into the Christmas spirit again.
Merry Christmas and may God bless you and your family.