Yes, I know Christmas has been commercialized. Yes, I agree that most people have forgotten what it means to celebrate Christmas.
No, despite everyone else ignoring the true meaning, that is not going to stop me from celebrating Christmas.
It is the day that God loved ME and YOU enough to send His Son down to our earth, to be born in HORRID conditions, yet become the greatest man that ever or will ever walk this earth.
If that isn't enough to celebrate, email me, we need to talk!
I also love seeing the decorations. True, I think starting in October to put out Christmas items is a bit early, though I must admit to getting the itch by the end of the month to bring the stuff down from the attic myself.
I also love the colder weather and the possibility of snow. Now, down here in the Southeast, we really do not get much for snow. (Waaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!! :-( .... LOL) (had to get one good cry from that statement!)
Last year as my family sat down on Christmas Day for our dinner, it started to snow, and it snowed most of the evening. ahhhhhhhh ..... that was the first time in almost 50 years that had happened .... (personal plea God, don't let it be another 50!)
I also love watching kids get a magical treat from all of the hubbub. Their eyes become as bright as the lights on the decorations, and they jump for joy at the sight of Santa. (personally, I see nothing wrong with Santa. It gets them used to the idea that you can get something from someone who otherwise owes you nothing. It is a perfect intro when they grow up into the idea that God gave us His Son, even when we didn't deserve it to die on the cross for our sins! AND TRUST ME, ME AND YOU DIDN'T DESERVE IT!!!!! But He did it anyway, and I love Him and praise Him for it!
So I digress.
One of my favorite things each year is to go to McAdenville, NC Christmas Town USA to see the lights. I never had the opportunity to be there for the opening ceremony where the light switch is flipped for the first time that season.
This year my wife worked it out where she could be off that day and we went. We took our dog Abby with us and sat up folding chairs and placed her between us.
We weren't there long when a child walked up with her mom and asked if she could pet the dog. I told her yes (our boxer is a big baby) and so she started to ask questions about the dog and us. It wasn't long until she asked if she could sit in my lap. I told her to ask her mom, and she said yes, so I put her on my lap. Her name was Skyler and she was 4 years old. She wanted to sit on my right knee where she could also pet the dog. Best of both worlds, I guess.
So we sat there, and as any 4 year old would do, she had lots of questions. Fairly smart ones too. As the ceremonies started, she would watch some, ask questions some, fidget some, typical 4 yr old things.
And as she did so, I watched her excitement grow as it neared time to turn on the lights. She was so focused on that one aspect of the evening that I'm not sure if she really paid too much attention to anything else.
There were speakers, singers, a children's choir and an unveiling of a Thomas Kinkade painting that was done of the town.
But Skyler wanted to watch the sun go down, as she knew it would signal time for the lights to turn on. Periodically she would hop down to go visit some of her friends, then she would climb back on my lap and we would watch the sky slowly get darker.
Finally, it was time to turn the lights on. Everyone counted, 10.9.8.7.184.108.40.206.2.1.....
BAM! Lights everywhere. The whole town lights up at once. The wide eyed child on my lap brought a big smile to my face. We sat there for a few moments, then she hopped down to go see Santa who had arrived and was perched in his sleigh.
Driving back home last night, I couldn't help but think.
Shouldn't we be like Skyler? Shouldn't we watch in anticipation, waiting on when we see Jesus returning in His glory? Granted, we should pay more attention to the events going on around us, and we should involve ourselves more deeply, but we should never lose sight of the ultimate goal in our life. To be with Jesus for eternity.
We shouldn't worry about what we'll get this season, or who we'll see, or who we'll spend time with, or how our house will look for the guests who arrive each year. Sure you'll enjoy the presents, you'll stealthily throw out the fruitcake, and you'll get one too many kisses from Auntie. Enjoy the time and the experience. But don't forget that we're celebrating the start of what we are looking to finish one day. Christ is coming once again, this time it won't be in a manger, but on a much grander scale. This time no one will be traveling to Bethlehem. We'll be traveling to Heaven to spend eternity with the one who loves us the most.
So as you look around at the sights and listen to the sounds of the season, watch and listen for His coming. We know not the day nor the hour, but we need to be ready for whenever He comes again. And let's do it with that gleam in our eye, just like little Skyler did!