Christmas. Once a year we get together for 90 plus days in pursuit of the perfect gift giving, and getting experience for friends, loved ones, and ourselves. Think about it. Christmas has become an economical boon for businesses all over the world. None more so than right here in the good old U.S. of A. It is so much the case that we base the economic success of retailers solely on whether their holiday sales reach double digit profits.
To see this in action one only has to go into Toys R Us, Walmart, or one of many other shopping hosts during the Christmas shopping season. The shelves begin falling barren from the pilfering of the “must have” items, leaving behind the knock off’s or less appealing toys. People crowd the isles and load their buggies full of stuff that will be tossed to the side in no time at all.
And the cost of Christmas has become astronomical. My kids are in their mid 20’s now so I get a bit of a reprieve. But even shopping for my grandkids I was in serious sticker shock as to what this stuff cost these days. It is utterly ridiculous. I looked at my grand daughter’s list and calculated if I only bought half what was on there it would be somewhere around $800. And I’m a grandparent.
And then there is decorating. I remember as a child how thrilling it was to see just a few colored lights adorning the gutters of the many houses around us. Heck, even farm houses in the middle of nowhere had lights. There were none of these inflatable monstrosities that adorn the lawns of the extravagant few. But we did see lots of manger scenes, santas, snow men, and of course, reindeer.
Last night my wife and I loaded up the grandkids and drove around our little town to look at the christmas lights. I couldn’t believe how few houses there were decorated. We live in a small rural town too. I would have thought we would have had a lot more than we did. It was actually very sad. The houses on our street decorate. But the truth is that there is an event each year from Dec 21 thru 23 where our street is blocked off and thousands come to see the old houses lit up and get a taste of christmas music. My guess is that if not for that event, many of these same houses would not even decorate.
So, “Where Are You Christmas?” The song, from the ever popular movie “Grinch”, has the audacity to ask the question. Many view the film as a fun and entertaining modernized version of the Dr. Suess book, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”. The main character, played by actor Jim Carey to perfection, scoffs and huffs at the people of Whoville. Year after year they run around half crazed spending all their had earned coin on presents that shortly end up at the local dump where he, “The Grinch”, resides along with his trusted dog Max.
For me the story is a sad statement about our society and the things that we have lost. As the famous line from another christmas classic, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” asks, “Does anyone know what Christmas is all about?”
As a christian Christmas is supposed to be a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Although it has been determined that Dec 25th is NOT the actual birth date of Jesus, we mark it as a memorial and testament of the greatest gift of all given by our one true God, sending His son here in the form of a human being, to offer us salvation.
Luke 2: 10-11 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.
Of all the passages in the bible, this one has the most meaning to me. It cancels all the insanity of a modernized holiday into a single wondrous event. The birth of Christ is literally buried during this holiday season. Most churches still celebrate in some way. But the numbers of people who worship God during the holiday season has become smaller as time passes by.
But is Christmas hopeless? Even in the story of the Grinch the green grump realizes that Christmas isn’t about anything materialistic. It’s about love. What greater love has been shown to us than God giving His own son for the sake of our transgressions?
We have the power to change Christmas. It all starts with you, and a little love. “That’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown”.