Saturday, December 02, 2006

How Do You Feel About Christmas?

I hate Christmas.

Well maybe hate is a bit strong of an emotion to express how I feel.

And maybe the object of that emotion is not Christmas but what we in our country do with that time of year.

The most common question this time of year seems to be "what do you want for Christmas?" and the most common statement is "You know what I want for Christmas is..."

According to a poll on about.com "close to 90% of respondents find the whole season to be stressful!"

Isn't this supposed to be a joyous time? Don't we desire to have a "merry" Christmas? Merry means full of cheerfulness, joyous in disposition or spirit. Don't we, in speaking of Christmas and New Years combined wish people "happy holidays"? Happy means delighted, pleased, or glad. While one definition of holiday is "a day on which work is suspended by law or custom" another definition is "a holy day".

Yet I all I see is bad cases of "I want-ism" and stress that overrides any chance of people being either happy or merry. Everyone is excited to have a day off from work but what is 'Holy' about the season?

I have no problem with the concept of giving gifts. It really is more blessed to give than to receive. I like giving gifts. I don't particularly need it to be limited to one day a year though. And shopping for gifts for special people in my life does not stress me out. Having the world tell me that I have to make my Christmas list early and I have to buy gifts for 'x' number of people, well that I don't get into.

In trying to reconcile what I go through this time of year, I 'googled' the root of the word Christmas and was directed to dictionary.com and found this:

Christmas is from the Old English words Cristes moesse, 'the mass or festival of Christ'. The first celebration took place in Rome about the middle of the fourth century. The exact date of the Nativity is not known, but even in pre-Christian times the period from December 25 to January 6 — now known as "The Twelve Days of Christmas" — was considered a special time of year. The abbreviation Xmas, thought as sacrilegious by some, is entirely appropriate. The letter X (chi) is the first letter in the Greek word for Christ.

So according to the dictionary, Christmas is a "festival", a "celebration" of "the Christ". Of our Loving Lord. Now I know that this is not news to me or most of the readers of this blog.

I love Christmas.

Love is not to strong of an emotion to express how I feel.

And the object of that emotion is Christ and why we celebrate on that day.

I'm not suggesting that you don't buy anyone any gifts. Gifts are given throughout the Bible. To see some examples go to www.biblegateway.com and use the "Quick Search" to search for 'gifts'. What I am suggesting is that we focus more on our Loving Lord and less on what the world pressures us to focus on during this blessed season of the year.

As we move through this month and approach this holy day, the day we set aside to remember the birth of our Loving Lord, will you commit to set aside the view of the world and bring to the forefront the real Reason for the Season?

Matthew 2:11 (NIV) On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

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