ow, Christmas is a few days away. It kind of creeped up on me this year. I’ve been tempted to get a little pressured. Got to do this. Got to do that. So and so is expecting
a gift, but what do I get them? Where is my tree?!! Is there time to get “everything” done? Then I have to hear all the complaints about how Christmas has turned into nothing but a commercialized holiday. I know “they” say it’s a commercialized holiday, but I believe it is our choice whether we commercialize Christmas or not. I think its ok to buy gifts after all, God did love us so much that He “gave” us His Son. Now, I don’t think we ought to overspend and put ourselves in debt. Don’t go charging a million dollars on your credit card and then spend the next 15 years trying to pay it off. Don’t do that. Don’t just spend, spend, spend and spend some more because the advertisements and sells are calling out to you.
During the Holiday spend sometime asking yourself the following questions: What does Christmas mean to me? Am I taking time to reflect on what it means to me? Am I taking time to instill that in others? What is the motivation behind my gift giving? When I think about Christmas, what is the first thought that comes into my mind? Are we so tired and stressed from fighting people in the malls to get that one gift that we can’t take time to enjoy and celebrate? If we don’t get that piece of jewelry- that ipod, the wii, the computer, the trip, the clothes- if we didn’t get that one gift that we’ve hinted around to all year, is Christmas ruined?
I’ve gotten some good gifts over my life, but what I most remember is sitting in front of the Christmas tree with my family laughing and enjoying each other while keeping in mind that this is the day we celebrate the birth of the Christ Child and all that He gave us. Now don’t get me wrong, we were ripping off wrapping paper to–tearing open boxes– Mom and Dad were giving their same old line that they give every year, “You all don’t listen! Now, I told yall not to buy me anything!” I remember my sister Michele’s look of amazement and happiness one year when she discovered I didn’t buy her a book- my brothers and sister-in-laws cracking up and snapping pictures, my nieces and nephews laughter, silliness, smiles and pure joy. I remember spending time with family and friends. Those are my favorite memories.
Some years it seemed as if we had a million boxes under the tree and some years, well, not a million. However, one thing has always remained constant and strong–the love. The love that saturated and that continues to saturate our hearts and our home can not be put into words. I don’t want to paint a picture that shows my family as perfect– Lord, knows “they” are not (J). We get on each other’s nerves. We get upset with each other. (I won’t even tell you about the crazy poetry that my siblings write about each other.) But we’ve learned to not let it linger too long. We’re learning to value each other and to recognize each other as “gifts” from God to one another (At least I’ve been telling them for 40 years that I was a gift to them J).
I want to challenge you today to do several things. First and foremost, keep Christ as the center of your Christmas celebration. Take time to reflect on what His birth brought to your life. Acknowledge it, accept Him as your greatest gift and be thankful because of it. Learn to reflect on it and celebrate it daily. It will change your life. For real! He is the reason for the season!
Next, be a giver. Find someone to give to. It could be a purchased gift. It could be a gift of your time. It could be a gift of encouraging words. Extend yourself to someone. Let them know that you appreciate them and that their very life is important to you. It is good to give. It is blessed to give. You are blessed when you give.
The last challenge I have for you is this: I want to challenge you to forgive. Well, Wendy, where on earth did that come from? What does forgiveness have to do with anything? Well, I’ll tell you. So many people can’t do the other stuff because we’re angry at one another– families can’t get together anymore because someone offended someone years ago or months ago or days ago and now they refused to be in the same room with them. Someone made a decision that you didn’t agree with and now you’ve banned them from your life. Someone said something about your wig being tilted on your head and now your kids can’t play with their cousins. LET IT GO! Let that be your gift this season. Release people from their offenses. It will be a gift to them and to yourself as well. Life is too short. God did too much for us. Stop being distant. Go to the family gathering that you missed for the last few years. Go hug your parents, your son, your daughter, your brother, your sister, that Grandparent, that aunt, that uncle, your cousin, your friends. Welcome them back into your life. Life is too short to stay angry. We are robbing ourselves if we stay angry. You don’t have to make a big drama out of the event, just enter back into their lives. Somebody is missing you! Who are you missing? Drop the pride. Be the first one to say, “I’m sorry. Forgive me. I forgive you.”
I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas filled with precious life changing moments and memories!!! May you enjoy and embrace all that Christ has done for and given you. May you remember how important and special you must be for God to have given you the best that He has. Don’t take it lightly. Don’t take His love for you lightly!
God Bless You Everyone!
Stay in His Presence!!
Wendy Marie Reynolds
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.