I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas and everything around it the last few weeks. Not like no one else has, huh? I guess I should say that I’ve been thinking a bit differently than I usually do.
One evening while I was sitting on the couch with my better half, we were talking about Christmas, gifts for the kiddos, and so on. I LOVE sitting in the living room right now with the tree and other lights-it’s amazingly cozy. I could sit there all day! But that evening from where I was sitting and turning to face my hubby, the nativity was right next to his face. As we were talking about Christmas, I kept seeing the nativity and getting a growing awareness that what takes up most of the Christmas season has little to do with what Christmas really started out as.
As I sat and paid attention to what Jesus was saying to my heart, I started crying and told hubby, “Do you know how different our reality would be if that (pointing to the nativity) wouldn’t ever have happened??”
Life as we know it would be totally different!
We would spend most of our time and energy running around looking for the perfect animal for the sacrifice that we needed to offer this week, today, this minute! instead of the perfect gift for everyone on our gift list.
Moment by moment connection with God would be unheard of!
Christmas started by God selflessly giving His Son to redeem the mess of mankind.
Jesus GAVE EVERYTHING to come and serve us, to redeem us, to move into relationship with us.
They GAVE. Relationship. Service. Love with no strings attached.
Jesus was the ultimate gift, and it was Him who taught us how to give. Sacrificially. Selflessly. He gave what was needed, which wasn’t always what the receiver thought he needed.
What I’m not saying is “Stop giving gifts! Stop the parties! Stop the cookie exchanges! Stop the programs!” That’s not what I’m saying.
Going to parties and receiving gifts is fun and good, but sometimes we get weary of all the activities because our time and energy hardly spread around far enough to everything we are trying to get to.
What I am asking is, “What are the real gifts in these things and activities, and are we paying any attention to them?”
The real gifts in these things are the people around us doing life with us, jobs that pay the bills, we have health, we have life, we have love.
What if we shifted to looking for ways to bless and give to the people around us the way that God gave to us that first Christmas?
What if this time of year became all about looking for ways to bless people we come into contact with?
What if our kiddos started telling us things like, “Mom, I saw someone today that didn’t have a coat. Let’s get her a coat for Christmas!” instead of saying, “Mom, this is what I want for Christmas!”
What if we started looking for ways to bless the socks off of other people at Christmas?
I know that many of us DO give to others and reach out to people with less than we do this time of year. But what if we gave more than we receive? What if our entire mindset was looking for ways to pour out onto others what God has blessed us with?
Way too often I fly around going to all the activities that we go to, doing all the things we do at Christmastime because that’s just what I do. I totally miss the real gifts that are all around me, waiting for me to see them and really appreciate them. I miss the real gifts because my focus is on the wrong thing. And when Christmas is over, I don’t understand that the real gifts…they are the things that are good and right and lovely all year long.
Like relationships with family and friends.
Like unconditional love and support.
Like grace in spite of our weakness.