Halloween just passed by 1 day and Remembrance Day hadn’t even arrived by 2 weeks and already there were Christmas Cards available in stores and decorations put up. It bothered me. I have had much to think about concerning this trend over the years. While I know that many will say that the Christmas season is too short and because they love the lights, the songs or carols, the decorations and the “feeling” they just can’t wait to start to celebrate, but I really don’t like what the “rush” has created. I can’t help but feel that many have lost focus. The doing, the feeling, the joy of the holiday has taken the place of the meaning of Christmas. The “reason” for the season is no longer the main thing. We have stopped worshipping Christ and instead we worship time and schedule, we worship decorations, we worship shopping, we worship gift giving-to each other. One worldly event passes and we are rushed into the next, whether we want to be there or not. And then we get caught up in the busy, the hectic, the rushed pace of it all. Where is Jesus?
Do we take the time to find him, however long it takes just like the wisemen did? Do we take the time to travel where his light leads?
I love Christmas. I love putting up the tree and decorating inside and outside with lights. I love Christmas music. I love Christmas baking. But none of these are Christmas and Christmas has happened and would happen even without these things. The joy of the holiday needs to be replaced by the joy of the presence of Jesus. These days, we are so concerned about kids missing Santa – about the fact that there isn’t a parade or that they can’t visit and get a photo with Santa, but are we concerned that the baby in a manger is not getting the gift of our hearts?
Jesus is not a spiritual accessory or some sort of divine decoration that shows up in a creche or manger scene or Christmas pageant. He is not an add on that has less value than Santa or the presents we think are important to give or receive, in celebration of his birthday. Jesus can’t be an add-on. There is a problem with giving Jesus a place on a list of how he should be included in our activities. When we think of all the things that are “must do’s” as we get prepared for the holidays, even if we say Jesus is number one or the reason for the season — we tend to think “first things first” instead of “the first ONE is first and through all we do, experience and give.”
Jesus has to be the center of our Christmas preparation and celebration and for the rest of our lives. That means Christ is permanently on the throne of our hearts, and we can’t let the changing culture around us change that. Please don’t let the culture rush Jesus right out of Christmas.
In the Christmas story in Matthew 2, The wisemen went searching for Jesus and when they saw…they worshipped…they presented Him with gifts…most importantly themselves. The coming of Christmas took thousands of years and when the appointed time came, it was still a slow process with lots of discomfort and preparation. Mary had a lot to ponder in her heart and so should we. Is Jesus who we search for? Do we take the time to find him, however long it takes just like the wisemen did? Do we take the time to travel where his light leads? Are the songs we sing songs of worship just like the angels? All the true symbols of Christmas point to Jesus- the lights, the tree- the candy canes, the carols, gifts…Have they led us to Jesus? Christmas Day is 5 weeks away. While whatever we do to celebrate is not bad, let’s not forget the ultimate, perfect, good gift. Jesus. We have time to slow down. We have time to regroup and refocus. We have time to truly worship. We have time to give the gift of Christmas the best gift we will give anyone this Christmas. May our hearts prepare room for him as we make room for all the other things we enjoy about this season. May we slow down to invite Jesus to be the “centre peace”. Don’t rush, unless you are rushing to Jesus. When you get to him, sit, stay, worship.