Today I ran out to pick up boxes for Christmas gifts. The lady at the register was mumbling softly as she checked me out about how she doesn’t do Christmas anymore. She said she stopped years ago when she realized the history. I still wasn’t quite following her. Trying to understand, I asked if it just got to be too much. She replied that that wasn’t the issue, but that the issue is that the holiday is about everyone else but Him and pointed upward. She noted that everyone else gets gifts but Him. By Him, of course, she meant Jesus. Of course, it was a quick conversation and she spoke about it softly because it wasn’t really something that she was supposed to say to me as a customer. I told her that isn’t always the case. I shared with her that in our home we bake Jesus a birthday cake and in my childhood home, we sang happy birthday to Jesus each year. She seemed surprised by that. I left her with the statement that it’s all what we make it.
I left the store a bit bothered. A little bothered that there are many like the clerk at the store that don’t seem to think that you can celebrate Jesus and still enjoy the festiveness of the season. There are some that think just because you shop, buy pretty wrapping paper and spend til you drop that Christ isn’t in Christmas. There are some that think that shopping makes Christmas less about Christ.
For some Christmas can be just a time of meaningless overspending money on gifts, decorations, cards, etc. but I don’t think that’s the case for most. Spending money on those things doesn’t mean that Christ is taken out of Christmas. When people give gifts, many times, they do it to spread love. It is a time of year when they spread love, help, and appreciation to relatives, caregivers, neighbors and friends. It is a time of year when we share love, gifts, cookies, fun times and joy. It is a time when we remember to give toys, food, and coats to those we never met. It’s a time when we are kinder to each other. It’s a time when just the beauty of a decorated street or home can make you smile. It’s a time of magic and wonder where we light up the world with joyful expectation. At Christmas I look forward to bringing smiles to the faces of those I love. I look forward to spreading the heart of God through my kindness, generosity and love. God is Love — and for many, so is Christmas. It’s the time when we focus on love and giving. It’s the time we emulate the good heart and good nature of Christ. At Christmas time, even those of us that don’t believe in God, emulate His love. We give it to others to freely. We may not give gifts to God but we give out his gift of love to others.
There is nothing wrong with the beauty of the season. The season is beautiful and is to be enjoyed. Let’s continue to spread the love of Christ. When we do so, I think that is the best gift we can give. We can’t pay God back with tangible gifts but we can pay the gift of love and life that He gave to us, forward to others. That’s what Christmas is — being a walking, talking, joyous blessing — spreading the love and joy and peace of God to others.