I’m trying … random Christmas thoughts

It seems like every day as I’m going to bed I think about my poor little ol’ blog and the lack of attention I’ve given it recently, I’ve been trying, but have been busy, and this is one of the things that has been put on the back burner.

I didn’t realize, however, how long it had been since I posted anything until I got a comment from a friend of mine today from my last post “3 weeks”.  Well,  3 weeks has now turned into just 10 days until we leave for Africa.  How exciting!  Honestly, that has been consuming a lot of my thought life lately, but among that, I’ve been thinking a lot, and gaining a greater appreciation for this time of year.

It seems that during this time of the year many people begin to make preparations and get ready to celebrate the day we call Christmas, sort of, as a special time to celebrate the last holiday of the year with family and friends.

I’ve been working part-time in a retail store for the last year for extra moo-lah, and I’ve witnessed in the weeks leading up to Christmas that shoppers are busy walking the aisles of stores, filling the parking lot at the mall and searching for those perfect gifts for moms, dads, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, kids, etc.   It is that time of year for spending way too much money on gifts that people really probably don’t need, and will likely return the next week after the lines have all gone down at the “customer service” desks of stores across the country.  Having experienced first hand the Christmas season from a retail perspective, it is sometimes hard to see that level of happiness and peace, but overall (with the exception of a few hot-heads, and a few shoves through the crowds) I think that, for the most part, people do seem to be in a somewhat brighter mood during this season.

Families decorate trees that they bring INTO their homes, are surrounded by the smells of pine, fresh baked goodies, and wassail, and take in all the shimmering lights that illuminate the houses in the neighborhood.

It is a time of year to get together with family and gorge yourselves on yet another big holiday meal, overdoing it like always, and regretting it shortly thereafter.  It is a time of year for sending and receiving Christmas letters to update friends and family with details of the past year, for making small talk with relatives at the family get together that you may have preferred to not have seen in the first place.I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and asking myself: what does Christmas really mean to me?  Why do we do all of these things during this time of year? What is all of this celebration REALLY about? Is it more about all of this outer celebration, or is it really more about an inner celebration?

I’m sure you would all respond differently if you were asked the question “what does Christmsas mean to you”  based on where you are currently in your life.  There is no right or wrong answer I guess.
It’s different for me as I grow “wiser”, I see things differently now than I did during my childhood.  I was always more concerned with getting finished with the reading of the Christmas story so that I could get to that big, red, shiny package under the tree that had my name on it.   Now, I think I’m more in tune with a deeper, inner celebration.  It isn’t just the day of Christmas that is special to me, but I’m learning how incredibly special every day is because of the One who created it.  The day that we celebrate as “Christmas” is obviously very special because it is a day we set aside to celebrate the birth of Jesus who came to save the world from their sins.  This year in particular, I’ve thought a lot about why Jesus came.  My thoughts have often gone to the cross over the last few weeks, and the sacrifice that was made there.  That is why Jesus came, that is why this tiny baby was born, but it didn’t end there … He rose!
I heard this great song by Phil Wickham called True Love, it gets me going!  Jesus is alive!
So, that’s what I’m taking from this season.  This crazy, busy, stressful time, when it seems like there is no way that everything that needs to get done is going to get done, I’m resting in the fact that as I celebrate the coming of Jesus this Christmas, I know personally why He came, and am eternally grateful for that!
So, what does Christmas mean to you?
Blessings to you this Christmas.
Eric
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