We still haven’t put up our Christmas tree. I know, it’s like over a whole week into December already and compared to most, we are slackers.
The truth is, we haven’t put it up or even decorated yet on purpose.
This year we are putting it off longer than usual and the reason seems to be sinking in pretty deep for all of us. We used to get crazy the weekend after Thanksgiving and deck the halls, then like most people who have been strategically living around a big ol’ spruce in the living room, the day after Christmas it’s gone!
Not this year though. And not likely in any year to come. Over the last several years we have put off the tree until closer and closer to Christmas day. It goes up later and it stays up through the Christmas season in the Church which actually begins on Christmas Day. Then we celebrate and savor it. It feels like we’re just beginning to enjoy the season when the rest of the world around us is bidding it goodbye for another year and collapsing into a post-Christmas food/gift coma.
This year we are really taking Advent seriously. We are preparing the way for our Lord with prayer, mediation, contemplation, and penance. We are studying the lineage of Jesus’ family back through to Jesse. We are reading the nativity story daily and thinking about the awesomeness of it all. We are lighting candles on our Advent wreath every night for dinner and singing our desires for Emmanuel to come and be with us. We are tearing a link off of our Advent chain and praying for each of the intentions written there. We are preserving the quiet days in anticipation of that miraculous birth.
We are not waiting for Santa. There are no creepy elves wreaking havoc while we sleep, hoping to make the kids be good. We are not running around in search of “the perfect gift,” or stressing out about all that we should be doing.
We are waiting patiently for the Lord.
I look around at all of the craziness of the season, the parties, the gifts, the music, the trees, the decorations, the colors, the lights, and I wonder…..how did this:
I hear people stressing about finding time to decorate and put up their tree, finding the perfect gift, spending too much money, the gifts their kids just have to have and it makes me sad. We find so many ways to add distractions to this simple celebration that the true meaning is beyond lost.
In my heart I wonder why so many people even celebrate Christmas at all when they don’t make time for Christ any other day during the year.
I hear people say that Christmas is about family or it’s about the memories and the traditions. And it is, and those are nice.
But it is SO much more than that.
Do a quick google search for a definition of Christmas and here’s what you get: Christ·mas: the annual Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth, held on December 25 in the Western Church. “The word ‘Christmas’ means The Mass of Christ.”
“Christian festival celebrating Christ’s birth!”
I always did find it odd that people who don’t believe in Christ celebrate this day.
My point is, what is the point?
If we don’t acknowledge that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday than what.is.the.point? If it’s all about family, memories, cookies, and gifts, than why not celebrate it some other time?
If Jesus had never been born, Christmas would be just another day in December. But it’s not. Because He was and is and always will be.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah predicted what was to come…..
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9: 5
Then in the New Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the prophecies….
“While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2: 6-14
Because the God who made us, had pity on us, and came to live right down here on this sinful earth along side of us. He came to save us from that sin and to teach us the way to eternal life with Him.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t have parties or buy gifts or make memories. But I am saying that “stressed” and “hurried” should not be used in the same sentence as “Christmas.”
I wonder how we make God feel when we insult Him with what we have made his birthday into. Ouch.
There is a “reason for the season” as the old cliche goes.
That reason is not family, it is not Santa, it is not so many things that have pulled us so far away from the whole point.