It is Finally Here

Well, it is finally here. We’ve been anticipating it. We have displays advertising it in some stores since Labor Day. Some of us look forward to it. Others dread it. As much as we try to push it back, it has finally arrived. You know what I am talking about. The Christmas Season.

Every year we go through this. I’ve already heard the usual quotes: “I can’t believe it is already Christmas!” “Are you ready for Christmas?” “Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?” “Are we having service on Christmas Eve?” “What time is Christmas Eve service?” (It’s been 10:00 PM for at least 10 years).

We will hear, and say, the usual clichés: “Jesus is the reason for the season.” “I say ‘Merry Christmas’, not ‘Happy Holidays’!” “Christmas is getting so commercial.” (Really?)

My family will hear my usual grumbling about the crowds at the stores. They will hear me curse the traffic on Chestnut Ave. as busloads of people come to view the lights and decorations within Parkway Estates, delaying my arrival home by at least two full minutes. I will go on my usual rant of wondering why tax payers are forced pay local, state, and federal employees NOT to work on Christmas. After all, isn’t Christmas a religious holiday?  (Separation of church and state and all that).

We will watch the usual Christmas shows:

  • NBC aired How the Grinch stole Christmas on Friday, November 24.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas aired on Thursday, November 30. At least we can hear Linus quote The Gospel of Luke three weeks before Christmas.
  • Hallmark began showing their usual Christmas romance movies almost a month ago. You know the plot: two unbelievably attractive people meet during some kind of holiday stress/tragedy/confusion/misunderstanding, they fall in love and discover the “real” meaning of Christmas is being with family and friends. I’ve already recorded three of them for Virginia.
  • TBS will show A Christmas Story for 24 straight hours beginning at 8:00 PM on Christmas Eve. I may watch 12 hours of that.
  • A Christmas tradition for me is watching It’s A Wonderful Life late at night. Alone. It is my favorite movie of all time, and I don’t want my family to see me weep like a baby when George Baily prays, “God. Dear Father in heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if You’re up there and You can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, O God” (I am getting teary-eyed as I type this)

And on and on it goes. Finally, after January 1, the season will be officially over. Decorations will need to come down and stored for another year. Somehow we will find the strength to get back in the work/school mode of thinking. Credit card bills will arrive sometime in January and we will wonder if we really needed to buy all that stuff. And we will vow to do it all different next year.

As Christ-followers we know that there is no such thing as the “Christmas season”. There may be a “holiday shopping season”, but the birth of Jesus is not seasonal. We celebrate Christmas – the birth of Christ – every day of the year. The incarnation — the Emmanuel – God with is – is the focal point of our lives, and we give thanks daily, not seasonal, for the coming of our Savior.

There are a lot of people around us who do not understand what the Nativity means. They may know the story of Joseph and Mary in the stable with the baby Jesus, but they may not grasp the significance of God’s salvation. We have the wonderful opportunity to share the meaning of Christmas with them, and why we have hope, joy, and peace with God in our lives through-out the entire year, not only between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I encourage you to pray for the opportunity to share your faith with others during the holiday season. I think that many people are more likely to listen during this time of year, so let us be ready to listen, and to share the Good News of Christmas.

Remember: there is no such thing as a Christmas season. There is a holiday shopping season, but Christmas is meant to be celebrated every day.

God bless you, and have a blessed Christmas.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Mike