We all have our own special way of celebrating Christmas.
For many it is just another social holiday on the calendar, a time to gather together with friends, share some eggnog and perhaps exchange gifts. For many others it’s just a yearly, much-needed day off. There are those who entertain that Christmas is all about an obese fellow who mysteriously floods the world with gifts based upon their behavior over the past 364 days.
Still others see Christmas as a time to gather with family they haven’t seen in a long time. Often, it is the one time of year when their thoughts reach beyond their immediate family.
And then there are those suffering from depression, seasonal depression, or another mental illness. They might find themselves retreating even further inward as so many around them are filled with a happiness that has been desperately elusive to them.
For some of us this will be the first Christmas without a precious loved one. While our hearts may be merry and grateful for those with whom we celebrate, there remains a vacancy in our heart—a hole that only Jesus can fill.
Of course, there are many others who find nothing to celebrate. Jobless. Homeless. Alone.
We Christians work our way through the holiday season in much the same way as our secular friends and family. We trim the tree. We fret over finding that perfect gift to give. For many of us there’s that special meal, with recipes handed down from generations past. A special Christmas prayer. An anticipation for the opening of the gifts below the tree.
I, for one, find myself remembering Christmases past. I remember our famous “Christmas in July”, when my career-soldier father returned from an unaccompanied tour of duty in Korea—we even made the local paper! I remember the holiday traditions that made things special, like going to church as a family. Inevitably, either my Mom or Dad forgot something they had to go back to get after we were all in the car—time to place the presents and fill the stockings! Christmas Eve church was insufferably long as my sister and I looked forward to opening presents when we got home.
It seems that we can—all too often—become so bogged down with the busy-ness of the Christmas season that Christ becomes an afterthought. A bookend to an all too harried holiday.
What would happen if we took a few minutes, outside of church, to consider what Jesus’ birth means to us today. What if we would pause for just a moment to try to understand what it meant for God to put on flesh. What did we gain from His appearing? What did God get from this? Is Christ truly the focus of our Christmas?
I think we all should make space for even five minutes to ponder these things. Let’s put Christ back in Christmas once again.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your Christmas!
Image by articgoneape from Pixabay