The Joy of Christmas
by, Dec 1st 2011 at 07:33 PM (418 Views)
I was listening to the radio and thinking about a conversation that took place over the last couple of days, and something about the conversation and what was said on the radio really hit a nerve for me. Somewhere someone shared something about ministries that bless others with gifts at Christmas time. Even for our less fortunate brothers and sisters around the world who have never celebrated Christmas before. And this was all I heard them say on the radio, in that regards, "a Christmas gift, so they too may know the joy of Christmas".
For the first few minutes I couldn't seem to figure out why that statement bothered me, but it really got under my skin. By the time I was able to get out into traffic, I realized what it was that bothered me. Does the joy of Christmas come from receiving gifts from people? Or is the joy of Christmas simply that Christ was BORN? God in His infinite love toward us, sent us His only begotten Son to pay for our sins, this should be enough for us to rejoice over. Yet somehow we here in the west have associated gift giving and getting with "the joy of Christmas". Don't get me wrong, I like giving and getting just as much as the next guy, and I really used to enjoy this time of year when I was a kid. But as I get older all I see is greed and pushy people going for the best bargains on black Friday, people getting trampled and people dying at our feet as we shove merrily along past one another.
I wonder, if someone who has never heard of the Christmas Holiday, the way we celebrate, were to come to faith in Christ, would that person really need to be introduced to the idea of receiving a Christmas gift? Are we not simply introducing them to the idea of expectations that may not ever be fulfilled? And what of those who have no one, and we in our western mind set feel it's necessary for them to celebrate Christmas like we do. Are we not setting them up for disappointment, as so many suffer depression at this time of year because they have no one and nothing? Instead of introducing them to a custom that has become so much about expecting stuff,from others, shouldn't we instead maybe be introduced to THEIR joy? For without the expectations that we have here, we might find ourselves focused on and rejoicing over the one thing that we ought to be celebrating at this time of year...the birth of our Lord; the real Joy of Christmas.
Black Friday is the end result of our "holiday spirit" and it's not a tradition that I want to pass on to others in poorer nations. I guess this is what happens when you use pagan traditions as a means of celebrating a Holy God. So rather than continue to pass on such traditions to the new in Christ, let's pass on the Joy of Jesus during this time of year, let that be our gift to our brother's and sisters who are new to all of this.
Rejoicing in the birth of our Lord.