Summer is very quickly winding down. Schools at all levels are already a flutter of activity with fresh students eager to learn and grow in many ways as a new academic year begins. Already I am seeing subtle signs in the shortening of the day’s light and the ever so slight beginnings of color changes in some foliage. The stores and ads are already gearing our thoughts to think of the quickly approaching Autumn months which are the start of many traditional holidays. Of course this includes the most festive of holidays for many people, which is Christmas. From now until December people will be planning the “hows, wheres, and whens” as they prepare to celebrate yet “another Christmas.”
I love Christmas. I love everything about it. The songs, the festive decorations, the lights, the gifts, the parties, the food…even the cold weather we get in this part of the country. More than anything I love the fact that for just a few days as December 25th approaches, most people are different…in a good sort of way. There is something in each person that has a heart to give something to someone to celebrate the joy of the season.
Sadly for some the holidays can be a very difficult time. It can be stressful due to over commitments, over spending, over planning… “over everything!” I know because for way too long I was one of the many who fell into the hands of extreme commercialism and found myself in the pit of excess filled with the wrong things. It took awhile but finally I realized just how far I was from the whole Truth of Christmas and why I had lost some of the real joy of that holiday. In the past several years now I have truly refocused my mind on why I personally celebrate Christmas. Oh don’t get me wrong. Yes I do the whole setting up of the trees (Yep, more than one), stringing lights, and pulling out my treasured decorations both old and new. I bake enough pumpkin and banana nut bread loaves to start a small bakery! I love giving gifts for the sheer joy of watching the recipient’s face when I can give that one special surprise gift they never expected.
But I have also learned (though somewhat painfully) to graciously smile and say “No” to things that I know will over extend me and I no longer feel guilty if I do not go everywhere and do everything with everybody in December because of fear of offending some one. It is not worth the price of compromising my commitment to keep the real meaning of the season guarded in my mind and in my heart.
For me personally, Christmas goes so much deeper than all this in spite of the festivities of the season. My faith plays the important role in this focus. As one who is of the Christian faith and beliefs, I treasure the greatest Gift of all.
The one Gift that can never be bought, sold, returned or exchanged because it was not the right size or color.
The Gift to which I refer is the gift of Jesus, sent by the will and plan of the Father to restore the relationship between God and his children that was sadly broken because of sin and disobedience in a garden so long ago.
As a person of faith I have come to truly understand that I can have the Gift of Christmas through Jesus every day of the year. I do not have to wait to “celebrate” Christmas only once a year. I can and do have the joy of the most valuable Gift ever given being mine day after day after day.
For me Christmas is not just one day on the calendar to fuss about.
For me Christmas is an every day part of my life regardless of where I am all 365 days of the year.
Some of you reading this may find this whole idea a bit foreign and there are those of you who understand exactly what I am saying. I challenge each of you to ponder these words and ask God to give you a deeper revelation of this amazing Gift he gives freely to anyone who will receive it. It is that simple. Really. And I promise you this. If you accept the Gift of Jesus your life will never ever be the same again. Christmas will have a whole new and deeper meaning…every moment…every day. Then you too can understand and say:
Merry Christmas…yes even in August!
Photo credits: Rosie Williams & Jason Williams