Tis the season…
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year….
It could also be…
the most stressful
the most lonely
the most difficult financially
the most busy
the most tiring
the most misguided….
Stores are decorated
Homes are decorated
With ornaments, wreaths, bells, trees, lights…
In Canberra, Australia, this year they broke world record: 1.2 million LED lights on 75 miles of cables, in the shape of 3 wrapped presents. And who knows what will be bigger and better for next year?
We have made the focus about gifts and what others want.
We have made the focus about ourselves and our lists of what we want.
We have made the focus about the music.
We have made the focus about the decorations.
We have made the focus about the parties.
We have made the focus about the food.
We have made the focus about family reunions.
We have made the focus about everything else… except what the focus should be.
I love the music. I enjoy giving gifts that others will enjoy. I enjoy decorating a tree and lights. I enjoy the treats and special get-togethers.
It is not that I do not enjoy those things.
It is not that I should not enjoy them, or do them.
It is not that we should not enjoy them.
It is not that we should do away with them.
On the contrary, I am not suggesting we should dismiss these. (Though some folks have decided to observe the holiday of Christ’s birth by de-emphasizing the gift-giving frenzy of the holiday).
But it is the heart of the matter. The focus is about all of the superfluous flurry of activity surrounding Christmas, instead of on Christ.
Because of the special programs, plays, musicals, recitals, parties, shopping, decorating, etc., our time can be pushed during the holiday to only focus on the superficiality of it. The very thing we are supposedly celebrating… is forgotten amidst the mayhem.
That is what this season sometimes feels like to me… mayhem. I wonder what God thinks when looking at us. Under usual circumstances we are already busy and living out hectic-paced lives. But at Christmas, it must look even more so (in the United States, in particular). We drive hither and thither, and it is embarrassing how some of us can act about a special sale on Black Friday.
Others have pointed out the irony of the crazy shopping the day after we give thanks for what we have. But now, we do not even have to wait a single day to go shopping. Thanksgiving itself is subject to exploitation of the mighty profit drive, as some stores decided to open their doors on Thursday. Does it matter anymore, to anyone? Having a day off? Those employees had to work. Now, I love a good deal, too, but I deliberately boycotted shopping on Thanksgiving day. Yet, I know that there were plenty of us who did shop that day, providing justification to the stores’ owners that opening on the holiday was a good idea. (And if you did shop that day, as many of my friends did, I am not at all judging you; I realize circumstances were convenient for many people, who already had a day off, to go shopping that day….)
Christmas’ commercialism is nothing new; no, as a matter of fact, it has only gotten worse. Now it is not even “Christmas” anymore, but some sort of “holiday”. I can not quite figure what kind of holiday it is supposed to be: some kind of generic family and friend get-together, with special music, decorations, and presents? Kind of like a birthday, but where everyone gets gifts, and with eggnog, Santa, snowmen, and Rudolph?
Makes no sense.
Each year, we move even further from the stable. As soon as we step out of that humble stable, we step into a commercial, secular holiday with empty celebrations. After the temporary merry-making, if we are not filled with Jesus, we will find ourselves empty and still searching.
All of the side stuff– it has meaning only if Christ is at the center of it. Otherwise, it is empty merriment.
We need to step next to the stable and meditate on the gift, God’s own son, come to earth.
The Wonder of the Savior is what makes it the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.
Sharing with Laura for Playdates with God and with Lyli for Thought-Provoking Thursday