Photo by Yoel on Morgue File.
This is the season of Advent (this past Sunday was the first Sunday of Advent). It is the time of year where we, as Christians (especially those from a more liturgical background), prepare our hearts and minds for the meaning and message of Christmas. Perhaps I need to qualify that last bit . . . the true meaning and message of Christmas!
Christmas has become, as many have opined and lamented, culturally cliche and commercial. Every year we feel the pressure to go bigger and better. More lights. Bigger tree. More ornaments. More gifts. Bigger gifts. Pricier gifts. And on and on it goes.
Okay, I must admit, that is not really what I want to talk about in this post! So, I will save that delectable diatribe and sardonic soapbox for another day!
Tonight, we as a family, drug out the Christmas tree and decorated it with all the ornaments and ribbon it could handle. (The lights came as part of the tree, big time saver there!) The girls loved it. We had Christmas music playing on the TV and everyone pitched in to help.
Last night, we watched a Charlie Brown Christmas. It amazes me they still allow it to run over modern airwaves, especially with Linus’ explanation of the real meaning of Christmas straight from the Bible! It seems so politically incorrect in today’s world.
(I don’t know, maybe I’m just feeling cynical tonight. Maybe I should get back to my rant I started earlier . . . nah, I’ll resist said temptation.)
The point to all this is that it is easy for us to lose sight of the meaning of Christmas. If we are not careful we fall into the same old traps and fallacies that have plagued us in past years.
As we look forward to this Christmas, let us be less concerned with the number or gifts under our tree (or their sizes) and instead remember the one, true gift that this season remembers: the gift of God’s Son.
I know, I know, it all sounds a bit cliche; so much so that we sometimes become tone deaf to the message. But, perhaps, the problem is not with the message; but rather, with us! We are like the teenager who cranks up the volume of her music, so she cannot hear her father’s complaints.
The louder our own personal melodrama, the more difficult it is to hear and remember the Grand Drama this season celebrates.
So, everyday, take time to remember and reflect that the whole point to all this . . . the lights, the trees, the gifts, the eggnog, the bad, distasteful holiday sweaters (okay, maybe that’s going too far!) is found, as Linus reminded us some fifty years ago, in the simplicity and profundity of the historical fact, once, a long time ago, there was in the town of Bethlehem a baby boy wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn . . . and his name was Jesus, because he shall save his people from their sins!
So then, the message of Christmas is really the same as Good Friday and Easter Sunday: salvation, forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation. So as we deck our halls and we fa la la la la, la la la la down those said halls and we hear jingle bells and think of good ole Saint Nick . . . let us not forget that once silent night, that o holy night when away in a manger there slept the King of Glory!