20 Dec How does Christmas feel to you?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
How does Christmas feel to you?
Christmas – Just another day; Christmas – Fun: parties, gifts, family, food; Christmas – Stressed: shopping, wrapping, decorating, cooking, busy-busy; Christmas – Anxious: no joy, sad, lonely, too commercial.. Christ-mas – Jubilant: Christ is coming, hope, joy, anticipation, thankful heart, sharing…
It’s Black Friday. Lines have been forming outside the retail stores in the mall since 2am. Perhaps, even before. When the doors finally open, there is a surge of tired but determined shoppers swooping in to grab the prized bargains. Pushing and shoving ensues, along with some angry words I cannot print here. Anxious clerks man their assigned stations and try to keep their cool and some semblance of order. Now, I don’t have any thing against finding a good bargain and for some families Black Friday mania has become a family tradition and lots of fun. But really, if taken too seriously, I think we can all agree that Christ-mas has nothing to do with it.
Wait; maybe I am too hasty in my judgement. Can Christ be found among the chaos? What about the dad who has saved all year to be able to buy the one gift that the son has asked for? The Black Friday sale allows him to surprise his son on Christmas morning and see the joy on his child’s face. The dad has made sacrifices to do this for his son. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to give us the greatest gift of all – salvation and everlasting life.
An elderly woman in aisle 4 is reaching for a box that is above her head. A young man retrieves it and hands it to her with a smile and a “Merry Christmas.” Two women grab at the last doll that is the year’s have-to-have item. One of the women says, “That’s okay. You take it.” A man who likes like he has stood in line all night long to get the sale item he wanted says to the harried cashier, “Thanks, for being here today.” A young child holds tightly to her mom’s hand as they stand in line and starts singing, “Away in the Manger,” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas.” Another person in line sports a huge button on the front of his coat that says ‘Jesus is the Reason for the Season.’
I’m not saying all shoppers on Black Friday are kind, courteous, appreciative, considerate, or Christ-like. They’re not. But what about you? I had saved the thoughts below in my notes. I don’t know who wrote them but I wanted to share them with you:
The very heart of Christmas is Emanuel, God with us – with me – and with you. Christmas is not a date on a calendar. Christmas is a way of life that celebrates the presence of God in the simple, ordinary happenings of daily life; where we go and what we do – the smile we give the harried stranger or the patience we choose in the crowd of impatient shoppers – the love that prompts the secret gift or the heart that constantly celebrates His birth through every sparkling light, every beautifully wrapped gift, each special meal, every card, phone call and visit. God is with us – if we choose to make room for Him.
By them time you read this, Black Friday will have come and gone, but the words of the author above remain true all year long. What ever we do, where ever we go, let us be reflections of Christ-mas.
During the Christmas season, you may have, at various times, experienced all the emotions in the first paragraph. Christmas is fun, it is busy, it is too commercial. But above all, for believers, it is NOT just another day. It is a time of pure joy as we celebrate Christ’s coming and anticipate his return.