One of my favorite Christmas stories is Dicken’s, “A Christmas Carol,” which as most of you know is the story of Ebenezer Scrooge, a miser who loves his money more than anything. After being visited by three ghost Scrooge has a change of heart and becomes warm and caring. In our society to be called a Scrooge means to be called someone who doesn’t care about anything. At this time of year it is not hard to become a Scrooge because of all the over commercialism of Christmas. The key to get through the season is to focus on Jesus and though I hate to use a cliched quote, “The Reason for the Season.”
Mistletoe, what is it and where did it come from? Each year we hang mistletoe so we can catch a kiss from some unsuspecting soul who happens to stand under the plant but does anyone know where the tradition comes from? Mistletoe is a parasitic plant which owes it’s life to the whichever trees it attaches itself. The tradition of stealing a kiss under the mistletoe dates back to old Nordic traditions. From there it gained it’s way to the United States from the 18th Century British servants who carried it across the ocean. Now loves blossoms under the mistletoe.
I think it as a Christian it is important for us to know where the traditions we have at Christmas time started. God us wants us to be in the world but not of the world so we have to be careful how and what we choose to use in our homes when we decorate.
One of my favorite aspects of this time of year are the Christmas carols. Not the one like Jingle Bells or Rudolph but carols like “O Holy Night.” “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” among many. These carols point us in the direction of the true why of Christmas and not the commercial why of Christmas. In that light this message is brief so you can up some carols and get in the mood for Christmas.
Our view of Christmas changes as we age. As a child we see the magic of Christmas all around us as we eagerly await the arrival of Santa. As we age we learn the truth of the red suited one but still know feel the joy of the season. As we enter adulthood our view of Christmas starts to change because of the hustle and bustle of the holiday.
Then one day we become parents and start to see the magic of Christmas through our children’s eyes. That is until they grow up and leave the nest but then they have children of their own. So then in grandparent mode the cycle begins a third time as we see Christmas through our grandchildren’s eyes.
We also learn as we grow that the magic of Christmas is not found in the getting but in the giving to one and all, not in gifts but in joy.
If you haven’t guessed by now I am embroiled in 25 days of Christmas themed drawings. The latest of these drawings is an elf. There are many aspects of Christmas which while not a part of the true Christmas story are part of our cultural Christmas season. The problem we have as Christians is not forgetting the truth of Christmas as we sometimes get wrapped up in all the other trappings of the holiday season, the shopping, the glitter, the shopping, the packed malls and stores among others.
One of my favorite funny songs of the Christmas season is, “The 12 Pains of Christmas.” It is a song about all the things which can wrong at this time of the years. One of them is stringing up the Christmas lights. If you’ve ever done it before you know what I’m talking about. The lights can be all tangled together or in the old days when one light went out the rest would go out. Today however most Christmas lights are made to stay on when one of them isn’t working. This goes a long way to insuring that the light will still shine no matter what.
I think our life is like the Christmas lights. There are times when our life is a tangled up mess that has to be unraveled. Once that is done even though one bulb may be out but because of the Holy Spirit inside us our light from the faith we have in God still shines forth for all to see.
Growing up I used to love the winter because it meant we might have a white Christmas. Now snow is just one more thing I have to clean up and shovel. Another fond memory from my childhood was building a showman. Next to my childhood home was a big field which provided plenty of snow in order for my friends and I to try and build the biggest snowman around. Many times we succeeded, but a few times we didn’t. The fun was in trying. After our toil we would sit or lay around enjoying our fruit of our labor.
My snowman making days are far behind me but the thrill of creating is still alive and well. There is something about seeing the fruit of what God does through the talent He has given me. There are times however some creations don’t turn out the way I expected but I now in the end since God was involved I can look back and enjoy.