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Christmas Spirit

December 12, 2010

The other day i ran into someone i had not seen for a little while and immediately they asked me, “So, are you ready for Christmas?”

I went against my first inclination and, knowing the person’s line of thinking i simply replied, “Yeah. I don’t buy any presents for people at Christmas so i don’t have to worry about that.”

More and more it seems as though there are other things, worldly things, that people associate with Christmas. I can’t count how many times i’ve heard someone say, “I just can’t get into the Christmas spirit without snow. There needs to be piles and piles of snow for it to “feel” like Christmas.”

Have you heard this? The “feel” of Christmas comes from snow, or from shopping, or from getting the decorations and tree up, or the lights on the house?

Is our society so caught up with immediate pleasure that the “feel” of Christmas comes from such superficial stuff?

I’m not hear to decry celebration and decorations and stuff, but this is all just stuff, and how you react to Christmas, especially if you are a Christian, is a reflection of our inner heart.

In years past, my schedule has been so busy that i hardly notice that it’s two weeks, then ten days, then 3 sleeps, then all of a sudden Christmas is here and gone, and i missed it because i was so busy. I didn’t slow down at all, and my heart was in such a different place that Christmas just ended up being a few days off to catch up on sleep and other things that i had neglected for the past while.

In more recent years i have found the beauty and joy of Christmas despite the busyness. In fact, this year i “feel” (there’s that word again) as though i am more in tune with the Spirit of Christmas than i have ever in my life. I am busier than i have ever been during this season and the Spirit is alive and pouring in and through me. I still have assignments due next week, and a few exams to write, but i am totally into Christmas. It didn’t take a tree, or snow, or shopping. Paul encourages us to “pray without ceasing,” and the Bible talks about “meditating on [God’s] word day and night.” That is where my excitement and joy for Christmas come from. Despite the craziness, despite a busy youth schedule and a school schedule that is killing me, despite the snow on the ground (i’m not a fan of snow, in fact, palm trees and 30 degree weather would be great for Christmas in Manitoba), despite all those things, my heart is in a place of meditation that it has never been before. It’s not constant. It’s not “day and night,” but it’s more than ever.

The first inclination i had in response to my friend above was to say, “I’ve been ready for Christmas all year!” But i didn’t. I regret it. And i know i missed a God given opportunity to speak Truth and Love into that friends life.

So when someone asks you, “Are you ready for Christmas?” pause to consider exactly what they mean, and then respond with your heart’s instinct. Don’t sugar coat it.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    September 9, 2011 11:24 am

    Jason, Christmas is a celebration. A celebration of the Birth Of Jesus. I agree with you that Christmas should be more Christ focused, however I believe that there is nothing wrong with gift giving, decorations, shopping, traditions etc. I’m assuming (and correct me if I’m wrong) that when you wrote “Yeah. I don’t buy any presents for people at Christmas so I don’t have to worry about that” is that you think giving a gift is just superficial “stuff”. Jason, God loves a cheerful giver. Jesus got gifts and He gave…He gave it all! Jesus said “it is more blessed to give than to receive”. Me personally, I find more joy in giving at Christmas (and all year) than receiving, which is probably true for most people. I love putting thought into finding, making or buying that perfect gift for that certain someone that I treasure. I’m not saying that I think you should buy everyone a gift, I’m just saying that there is nothing “unchristian” about buying presents at Christmas. Also, there is nothing “unchristian” about putting up a tree and decorating it, or hanging holly, or singing Christmas carols, or having a huge Christmas meal, or whatever you think is superficial. It is just getting ready for the celebration of Christs birth. Traditions often inspire joy and heartwarming memories. Traditions don’t take away from the reason why we celebrate. It’s our Lords Birthday…it SHOULD be a big deal!

  2. September 9, 2011 2:15 pm

    Thanks for your comment.

    It was estimated that Americans spent roughly $451.5 billion on Christmas gifts in 2010.

    Now to be clear, as i wrote in the post:

    “I’m not hear to decry celebration and decorations and stuff, but this is all just stuff, and how you react to Christmas, especially if you are a Christian, is a reflection of our inner heart.”

    I should have included the gift spending in that statement. I am not advocating that we don’t give Christmas presents, but we should be more conscious of our gift giving habits. I like your suggestion for making the perfect gift. I also know that “God loves a cheerful giver.” My personality is such that i am a giver. I love giving gifts to people, but would rather leave it for a birthday or anniversary, or just to give.

    And here i reveal a part of my process of thinking that is difficult for many to grasp: I am extremely careful about when and where i shop. For example, I do not and have not shopped at Walmart in 6 or 7 years for various reasons. I find their slave labor practices horrid, and the way they treat their local employees is less than desirable, and when i was made aware of this i discontinued shopping there. By the same token, as i have learned more about Fair Trade practices, i find myself shopping at stores such as MCC’s Ten Thousand Villiages a lot more, as well as thrift stores and etc.

    There is nothing wrong with putting up a tree or having a meal, and especially with singing carols. But too often people put so much effort and emphasis on these things, they miss the reason for the season. To worship and adore our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that is a big deal.

  3. Anonymous permalink
    September 10, 2011 11:38 am

    Maybe people put so much emphasis and effort on these things is because of the reason for the season.

    I also think that when someone says that the “feel” of Christmas comes from snow, shopping or a tree, all they mean is traditions, memories and what they are used to for the Christmas celebration. I don’t think that it necessarily means that it’s taking away from the reason that they celebrate. For example…if you are used to having a cake for your birthday party, wouldn’t you find it odd if you didn’t get a cake for your birthday party, if that’s something you are used to?

    That’s wonderful that people spent $451.5 billion on Christmas gifts. It’s too bad that some people aren’t that generous all year round. I bet a ton of those gifts were donated too! What a blessing!

  4. Anonymous permalink
    September 10, 2011 12:10 pm

    I don’t think I quite understand your statement “I am not advocating that we don’t give Christmas presents, but we should be more conscious of our gift giving habits.” Could you elaborate?

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