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Christmas Begins with Christ…

The title I’m using, “Christmas begins with Christ,” was copied from a message that appeared on my face book wall and has stuck with me for so many reasons. It touched me so much so, I chose to use it as my wallpaper for the month of December. But it’s also a message that I feel Christ wants me to share with each of you.

With Christmas around the corner, the public’s being lured to retail stores like herds of cattle being steered toward a slaughter house to wreak havoc on their very lives. The only difference between Christmas 2013 and those before and after this year is the level of intense advertising and means of enticing us to buy from each store. Think about it, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping appears in songs, movies, or any where it can be fabricated to look like the “in” thing to do because, after all…”Tis the Season.”

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Christmas season gets more frantic as years pass, and with it comes the price one puts on another’s worth, or so some think. Now, who hasn’t uttered these words or overheard them from someone else, “Well, I know Junie usually spends ten to twenty dollars on our presents so I’ve got to spend as much on hers.” Or how about this one, “We have to buy a present for ______ because they bought us one last year,” a phrase notoriously heard by many.

Well, let’s slow down a minute and think about this. “Christmas begins with Christ.” Hmmm. We could take that a few different ways. There’s:

1. Christmas
2. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus Christ was born
3. Honestly our first thought, our day, our very existence should start with
praising Christ.

Let’s focus on #2, celebrating Christmas because Jesus Christ was born.

Matthew Chapter 2:11
11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Just as it says in Matthews Chapter 2, the three wise men went and saw Jesus who was with his mother, Mary. They brought him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The bible doesn’t say they brought Joseph and Mary gifts; only Jesus. (Hence, Jesus, a child, is the reason for the season).

Christmas should be celebrated by both adults and children, with Christ at the center of the celebration. However, giving presents should be more so for children than for adults. Hopefully, everyone has had a wonderful childhood where both their wants and needs were met by either their parents or the fictional character, Santa.

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not saying adults shouldn’t exchange gifts with one another; after all, giving is more enjoyable than receiving. But let’s be honest with ourselves, how many of us have blown our Christmas budget (if you had such a budget set aside) to accommodate funding for all the gifts needed for any given year? Or are you still paying for 2012’s Christmas gifts, or quite possibly gifts from one, two, or even three years before that?

Society has jumped on a train that is moving way too fast; similar to the Polar Express, if you will. The only difference between us and the characters on the Polar Express is we’re not going to the North Pole; we’re headed straight to financial destruction while retailers smile and wave as we go by. We need to slow down. Spending is not the reason for the season, Jesus is!

Earlier today I watched a program that gave some great ideas for gifts, its gifts of time. Examples include: offering to cook dinner for your friends or family, or drop the neighbors’ children off at school even if your children are grown up and on their own. What about volunteering to sit with your neighbors’ grandmother who’s in the nursing home to give your neighbor a break? Or go watch television and spend quality time with someone who just lost a loved one and hasn’t had time to adjust to being alone.

Here’s a thought…
If stores are able to lower their prices for “Black Friday,” which turned into “Thrifty Thanksgiving Thursday” this year, then can they not lower their prices the rest of the year if we show them what’s important? It would take time, and it’d be a ripple effect, but personally I’m getting tired of paying $13-15 for paper that’s being flushed down the toilet, aren’t you?

In closing, I just want to reiterate that society needs to slow down, to get back to the simpler times, and that Christmas isn’t about “keeping up with the Jones.” Christmas is about reflecting on Jesus’ birth and the miracle of birth in itself. For those of you with children, you were given the ultimate gift from God. We all have family. Whether it’s your biological family, a friend, or your lifetime partner, smile and know in your heart that you are loved.

That love began with Christ!