I have a confession - I am dissatisfied with how I celebrate Christmas. I've had an unsettled feeling for a while now. It increased with every ornament hung and present bought. Something just doesn't feel right about celebrating the Savior's humble birth by giving ourselves loads of stuff. He was born in the lowest of circumstances and so that gives us an excuse for extravagance? It just doesn't make sense to me. I just don't feel like I have been doing justice to what I believe about Christmas.
Everywhere I look there are hundreds of people busy with all the activities of this season. And I am one of them. Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas time. I love to decorate my home and I love to give gifts to the ones I love. I love to wrap presents, bake cookies and look at the lights. Still, something tells me that this season can be so much more meaningful. Sure, I read the account of how my Savior entered the world. I am thankful, I truly am. But there comes a time with thankfulness must produce action. Christ gave the upmost gift - Himself. If He is truly my Master, my Model, shouldn't I be giving of myself too?
You see, I've seen a bit of the world and her hurt. My hands have touched poverty's hands. I've looked into starvation's eyes. My stomach turns when I think of how much money we Christians spend on Christmas presents. How much good could those funds do in places of destitution? How many lives could be saved because of it? I know that I have been blessed to be a blessing and not to stay in my world of comfort, hoarding all of these blessings to myself. I feel like I have missed the joy of giving, not the joy of giving to my family and friends, but giving to those who truly need. I want to show the unfathomable depth of God's love to others during Christmas. I haven't been doing a very good job at that and I want to change. Starting today.
I want my future children to understand the joy of giving. I pray they will celebrate God's gift to us in a deeper way. I don't want to make Christmas all about them, the presents or a big fat man in a red suit. I want them to look forward to giving gifts to the needy as much or more than they look forward to their presents under the tree. I don't want to tell them to believe in a magical man that brings them presents if they are good. (That is just my personal conviction.) I want to tell them about the God that loved us enough to send His Son to the earth to bring salvation, Jesus Christ - our Messiah. From now on I want to make much more of Christ at Christmas and stop using it as an excuse for materialism.
So what do you think? How have you and your family balanced celebrating Christ's birth and how our culture has materialized this season?