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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Too Soon for Christmas?

“What’s wrong with this picture?”

Before Halloween even dispels its hallows eve, we see the signs of Christmas popping up all over. Retailers gradually work in the reds and greens way ahead of their time. Before we even have a chance to give thanks and enjoy that succulent turkey, we see sparks of holiday decorations right in our own backyard. 

So how does the pre-birth of Christmastime’s arrival affect you? Are you overwhelmed with joy and excitement, or do you dread the entire scene before it even unfolds?

The answer may be different for each one of us. It depends on our circumstances, and yes, even your age. Kids are full of joy and anticipation. Yeah! I can remember years ago how kids would comb through department store catalogs and circle their favorite toys that they wanted for Christmas. Now, with the age of computers and iPad’s, they can search out exactly what they want and send an e-mail list directly to mom.

Many of our problems and uncertainties concerning the Christmas season tend to come about because of family situations. With so many broken homes in our society, sometimes the holidays do not present the excitement as years ago.  With many families scattered from one state to another, a common question tends to arise this time of year, “Where will I spend Christmas this year? Who travels to who’s house, and who ends up where?”

Sadly, I don’t believe division is what God had in mind when He sent His Son. He brought Him into this world to draw us close to Him and to discover His unconditional love, not to bring a day of confusion on this holy day of the year. Yes, Jesus did say in Luke 12:51 He came to bring division, but somehow, I don’t believe He was referring to His birth in the manger. I don’t believe two-thousand years ago, He came to bring pain and hurt to the world, but quite the contrary — peace. 

So what then is our problem? If He came to bring peace on earth and goodwill to men, how have we messed that all up? How have we taken our focus off the prize and blamed the season for our chaos and stress?

We could blame the retailers. That sounds pretty fair, doesn’t it? It’s their fault because they have commercialized Christmas so much, that by the time it arrives, we’re completely exhausted.

But really, should we ever be tired of hearing about Christmas if we truly understand its meaning?

Of course not. But that’s the vicious web the world has weaved. We need to be the ones to make a choice not to get tangled up in it and to continue to renew our hearts and minds every day. We need to quit saying, “But it just doesn’t feel like Christmas,” and ask ourselves, “What should it feel like anyway?” If what is in our hearts is what is in The Lord’s heart, then we will not only remember the reason for the season, but we will pass the meaning in love onto others. 

So, what does a person do who is torn about where their loyalty lies and where they should go? Or what is the solution to keep peace in the family when confusion arises? 

Every situation is different. Each family has unique things going on. But the bottom line is, once we turn our eyes off the problem and remember the reason for the season, The Holy Spirit will remove the veil of confusion off our hearts and minds, and we will be able to see things with a whole new lens.

Although it is a day of getting together with family and friends, when we choose to re-focus, it will enable us to take on a whole new view. We are gathering to celebrate the birth of Jesus — the gift of our eternal salvation for all who accept Him and believe. 

Only when we keep that as our focal point will we be able to go forth in peace and therefore create a peaceful situation wherever we go. 

In closing, I’ll share a little secret I’ve learned I’ve discovered. I must continue to remind myself; it’s only one day. It’s only 24 hours. And, if I can just live it minute by minute, and then choose to trust that God is in control of that day like any other, I never know the surprises He can bring about. It’s taking the focus off myself, and turning everything back to Him. 

And, you never know — the day you have dreaded the most, might just end up to be one of the greatest Christmases ever. 

Copyright © 12/04/2017 Del Bates, used with permission.

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