“And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” – Luke 2: 9-10 (NKJV)
While standing in line at a local super store the other day, I overheard a lady complaining about another Christmas fast approaching. She went on to lament about how glad she would be when the season was over and how she hated standing in even longer lines and driving in increased traffic. The person she was talking too said that while her children got excited about Christmas, she was not looking forward to the extra company in her home and having to spend “all that extra money.” For just about two seconds I could almost relate to their attitude. I used to think just like they did about Christmas. My family even nicknamed me “The Grinch.” I had the ability to steal just about anyone’s Christmas Joy. Christmas was not a good time for me. But then I thought about how my attitude toward Christmas had changed. When I accepted Christ, God put a love in my heart for Christmas. This is the day we celebrate God’s greatest gift to man. The gift of his only son, Jesus!
Yes, I can relate to how a secular world feels about a holiday that over the years has become commercialized, over advertised, and even political. Retail organizations have started promoting and decorating for the Christmas shopping season way before Halloween. Many local governments will not allow decorations that depict a religious theme on their property. Society has tried to take the birth of Christ out of the very holiday that exists to celebrate that birth. The focus of Christmas has shifted from celebrating Jesus’ birth to lights, trees, gifts, Santa Claus, and more gifts. We all are involved in the secular aspects of Christmas; it’s almost impossible not to be.
So here is my challenge to you (and myself). As the Advent season approaches, commit to focusing on the real reason for the season. Read the Christmas Story found in Luke chapter 2: 1-18. If you have children read it to them. Remember the joy of your salvation and apply it to this awesome time of year. Share your joy and the Christmas Story with someone who needs joy. Your attitude about Christmas is a choice. You can choose to be joyful or not. Choose joy and share it!
Oh yeah, remember the Grinch? I’m still the Grinch in my family. The Grinch finally found the joy of Christmas, and his heart grew 3 times its normal size. That’s me!
~ Rev. Tom