The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. The hustle and bustle and excitement always gets me in the mood, sometimes WELL before the Holiday season actually begins. Since I was a kid I've always loved Christmas, even though we knew Santa wasn't real, because it isn't about that, it's about the fun!
As I've grown older, my gift list has grown smaller, as we keep our budget tight and giving of time and friendship is much more valuable than little baubles that will just sit on a shelf and eventually be packed away to be forgotten. Unless I have a meaningful gift to give, I usually don't. This year will even be the first year my husband and I don't exchange gifts under the tree; instead we opted for a family gift and filled each others stockings with smaller gifts that were smart and that the person could use. Spending thousands on Christmas is not our thing, let alone hundreds. That's just us, though I know some thoroughly enjoy the big bang, and honestly if we had lots of money we probably would too.
Despite all that, I know it can be very hard for us to keep in mind the reason to celebrate. The season of giving is most well known as you hear of large amounts of money donated to Salvation Army, Toys For Tots and more recently in headlines the non-stop 250 pay-it-forward line at a McDonalds in Florida. Giving is catchy, whether it be gifts to our great friends or even strangers; in fact the best gift given is when the receiver has no way of repaying you, because you know it is done out of pure motives, not expecting to get something back. I must admit, the commercialism gets me down and actually sickens me because we shouldn't be constantly wanting or trying to out-do the last person's gift as a status.
The reason for the season of giving for some stems from Saint Nicholas and the stories we hear of Santa, more or less legends of men who helped the poor by leaving gifts of food and toys for poor families. For others, including myself, it is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Jesus was given to us by God as a baby. He had to grow up and live a life like any other person by working and helping his family. He wasn't rich or pompous, but humble and loving. The Son of God came to our level and that was only the beginning. The story is beautiful and gives me chills, because that night was purely a miracle of God. In a dirty, stinky stable with the company of shepherds, cows and sheep. The smell of blood and dirt and poop must have been profuse (poor Mary!) yet he was brought in by the company of Angels singing "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased." The celebration of the Savior finally descending, and to our level; eternity being re-routed for many. For now it wasn't only the chosen who could live eternally but anyone who would receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Christmas is more than presents and a glittery tree, but it is the celebration of life within one's own soul.
"And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased.'" Luke 2:13-14