As I sit at my kitchen table drinking my coffee and eating a Christmas donut on a chilly & rainy morning (maple icing with red & green sprinkles if you're curious), I sense Christmas all around me. I hear Christmas music blaring from a boom box my Mom likes to keep on during the day. I still see my neighbors' colorful Christmas lights beaming brightly across the pathway of our yard. The gifts my Mom wants to distribute to friends and family are spread across the living room. These familiar scenes year after year are mental notes that the holiday season really has arrived. Then it hits me that even though these familiar scenes of how we celebrate the holiday in my home brings me joy, this is the commercialized version of "sensing Christmas all around me" and not what the true meaning of Christmas really is about.
I recently had someone ask me, "Why do you believe in God?" I paused for a moment because my faith is something I freely speak about, but this question is not something I generally get asked often. I replied explaining it was because of God's ability to love me whole heartedly and give me endless counts of mercy whenever I screw up and don't deserve it. In turn, this makes me want to love others and give them mercy as well. God's ability to claim me as his own makes me WANT to be a better person for him. The opportunity to have a relationship with him is far more than what I should be given and it is so gracious and sweet of God to choose to have a relationship with me. All of this started when he sent us his only begotten son to be born in a manger, the celebration of Christmas.
Although this is considered one of the most wonderful times of the year, it can also be the most stressful time of the year. People are worried about what to give who and how much they're going to spend. Everyone is wrecking their brains out planning, shopping and making sure everything is perfect for their loved ones. And between all the hustle and bustle of trying to MAKE Christmas happen, we forget WHO MADE Christmas happen, and that's Jesus Christ.
When you celebrate the holidays this weekend, don't forget Christmas. Don't forget the real reason of why we celebrate Christmas and the true meaning of it all. This holiday is in celebration of Christ's birth, the one who came to us, the one who was sent to save us. It's not how many presents we need to give or how many presents we are going to receive. It's not about how much we need to do to prepare our homes to impress our friends and family. It's not about the food or the decorations. Remember that this time of the year is a time to celebrate the Savior. It's crazy to think that Jesus was born in a stable with animals; the most natural scenery for such a glorious wonder. Yet, we tend to complicate celebrating his birth by focusing more on the materialistic aspects of the holidays and not focusing on the One.
And if you're not Christian, then focus on spending time with your loved ones and celebrating each other in love and joy. Genuinely take the time to make every second count when you see your family and friends this holiday weekend by loving them fiercely and covering them with kindness that'll make their hearts sing. (I mean, this should be done no matter what, not just cause it's the holidays. But you get my point). Focus on the goodness of the holiday and don't get caught up in the commercialized version of Christmas. Count your blessings and make this holiday as cheery and bright as your heart and soul can muster!
I hope you have a wonderful & awesome holiday.