Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's that holly jolly time of year again!

Aunt Gertrude
Uncle Buck
Sister Susie
Cousin Marge

No, it's not the mailing list for the next family reunion. Millions of Americans and people around the world are gearing up for the biggest gift giving day of the year. Christmas!

Commercialism you say? Greedy people trying to get everything they've ever wanted? Rude shoppers, you complain? More traffic than people have cars?

If this is how you see Christmas and this season of the year, I have something to tell you, you're right. I'm not going to argue that Christmas isn't about all of this because in a way it has become that. It's not always a wonderful, magical time of year. You see, anything that is good and is started out with good intentions is doomed to fail at some point in time unless we hold ourselves to preserving the goodness found therein.

Christmas was a holiday that was started for two reasons. It was decided by the church that there ought to be a special day set aside to remember the birth of our lord and savior, Jesus Christ. Secondly the church believed that having it in the latter part of the year around the pagan celebration of winter solstice that it would counter this celebration and bring Christians away from celebrations of the pagan holiday. These were two very good intentions and it started out and worked wonderfully for a very long time. Today, as with so many other aspects of Christianity, we have finally allowed the world to gain such a hold on Christmas that it is reverting back into a pagan holiday.

I ask of anybody and everybody that reads this blog, please help me in remembering and reminding those around you what this wonderful holiday truly celebrates. Jesus was the greatest gift given to men. He is our only salvation and I truly believe that it is a shame to disgrace the celebration of this gift with the love of money, the rudeness, the covetousness that this holiday has become.

Give gifts. Give freely. Freely receive. This is how salvation was given and should be taken. It's also how the gifts of the magi were treated in that stable in Bethlehem. Just remember why we do it, please.

Frosty is a wonderful tale along with Rudolph, the little drummer boy, The Night Before Christmas, and all the other tales and myths that have grown up around this holiday. Just don't let them be the focus. I've seen so many giant inflatable snowmen, santa clauses, penguins, and you name it, that it makes me wonder if anybody has any idea what's going on. The majority of Christmas decorations today don't make any sense. There is no indication of what is really being celebrated here. But in the midst of all the holiday decorations, way back in the back corner of the "holiday shop" at your local fill-in-the-blank Mart or underneath of the left over tinsel and lights from last year, in the bottom of the box almost forgotten is a figurine of a little manger with a baby and two weary parents that made due with what they had and were greatly rewarded for it. It's time to get back there. Instead of a trip to the north pole this year how about this Christmas, in our hearts, we all return to Bethlehem. Let's remember the nativity. They still make them and you know what? They're not just for Christmas anymore. I keep one on top of the computer desk throughout the year to help me keep my perspective on what it's all about down here.

I would like to close this post with a request. This Christmas in the midst of all the glitter, twinkle, hustle, and bustle, stop and take a moment. Just a minute to reflect. A time to
"Hark, now hear the angels sing, a new king's born this day. And man will live forever more because of Christmas day."

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