Forgive Us our Christmases
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… (Isaiah 9:6, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Once upon a time, a little girl named Mary Beth found herself caught in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity, all of which seemed to be coming to a head on Christmas Eve. Her dad was always scurrying about, loaded down with bundles and burdens. Her mom, under the pressure of getting ready for the great occasion, had succumbed to tears several times during the day. The little girl tried to help her weary parents, but always found that she was in the way.
“Not now, Mary Beth! Can’t you see I’m busy!” her parents would say.
Finally, near tears herself, she was hustled off to bed. There kneeling to pray the Lord’s Prayer, her heart and tongue became intertwined, “Forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us.”
Perhaps Mary Beth’s prayer was not such a great mistake after all. Many times we leave Christ out of Christmas. Many times our Christmas spirit is not of good will but of exhaustion, causing us to trample on our loved ones’ feelings. And many times we are so busy planning the birthday celebration that we forget to invite the guest of honor.
Imagine for a moment, that you have never heard the Christmas story and you visit a shopping mall on December 22. You listen to the music being played over the intercom system and eavesdrop on a few shoppers’ conversations. Next, you stop by a greeting card shop and browse through the rows and rows of red and green envelopes with cards sporting colorful and comical messages. Window displays grab your attention, enticing you with promises of low prices for the last minute shoppers. Stress laden faces rush by carrying stacks of boxes in various shapes and sizes. What conclusions would you draw about the event that culminates on December 25?
Much has changed since the God of the universe decorated the night sky with the star of Bethlehem and directed the choir of angels in a chorus announcing the birth of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. But the commercialism doesn’t have to rule in our hearts and homes. This year, let’s focus on the Christ Child and remember the true meaning of the holiday season. As we turn our eyes to the Babe in the manger, we will not view Christmas as a dreaded obligation or a major retail event. It will be a time of joyous celebration, honoring the One Who came to give us eternal life and worshipping our Heavenly Father.
Let’s focus on celebrating a Christ-centered Christmas!
Dear God, sometimes I get too caught in the Christmas commercialism. OK, a lot of times. Today, I’m going to refocus my heart and remember why I’m celebrating this wonderful day in the first place. I’m celebrating Jesus today…and every day!
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
What stirs in your heart when you see how retailers are trying to cash in on Christmas?
What do you think Jesus would say about all that?
What are some ways that you keep Jesus the focus of your holiday season?