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Redeeming Christmas

December 15, 2012

candle2I don’t know about you, but at this time of year my mind is whirring with all the jobs to do with Christmas. Do you have a list of things to do before Christmas? I think maybe I should write one, because my mind is full of questions and things to do at the moment!

My mind buzzes with questions like:

  • When are we going to have time to do Christmas shopping?
  • When we do manage to find time, what are we going to buy for each person?
  • Who are we going to send Christmas cards to?
  • When are we going to see each part of the family?
  • How many days until the last posting day?
  • When can I fit in writing the cards before the last posting day?
  • Where will we get our Christmas tree from?
  • How much money can we afford to spend on presents for family and friends?

This is by no means a exhaustive list, but you get the idea! Sometimes I wish my brain came with an ‘off’ switch, or at least a ‘mute’ button! Admittedly, as I have said in previous posts I am quite a worrier so your list may not be full of as many questions as this, but I do think that there are so many things we can easily become caught up with at Christmas time.

When I was writing the list of questions and worrying about those things the verse ‘I bring you good news of great joy’ sprung to mind; news of great joy! The verse is from when the angels appeared the shepherds to tell them of Jesus’ birth, when the angel says:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10-12)

Jesus’ birth, and thus celebrating it at Christmas, should be a joyful time! We can be friends with God because Jesus came to the earth! The angel didn’t begrudgingly say ‘I bring you news that is to cause stress and worry and will over-stretch your descendants with pressure to buy presents’! Sadly, however, that is what it has become for many people and it could far too easily become like that for me!

Last week we had the Candlelit Carol Service at Mike’s college and in the middle of it my mind was starting to drift to questions of the practicalities of Christmas, like the list above, and I thought ‘will I let Jesus be squeezed out of Christmas?’  It might sound a bit silly, because I was at a Carol Service, but even with going to things which are designed to celebrate Jesus’ birth, He can easily be pushed out of our affections and thoughts, particularly at such a busy time.

The start of the prayer at the end of the service, and it’s references to joy; struck me as I thought about this:

God, make us glad
with the yearly remembrance of the birth of your only Son, Jesus Christ:
Grant that as we joyfully receive him as our Redeemer.

So, I’m challenging myself to make sure that the seemingly urgent, and of course lovely, things which have a deadline, such as presents, cards, decorations and family visits, don’t squeeze out the most important part of Christmas; celebrating our Saviour, Jesus’, birth. How about you?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 15, 2012 3:53 pm

    I completely agree! Our family has decided not to buy gifts for people outside of our immediate family and we don’t send out cards, either. I know. It probably sounds like we don’t care. We do! it’s just that we really want to keep this special season as low stress as possible. Thank you for encouraging me to continue this focus!

    • Natalie permalink*
      December 19, 2012 9:28 am

      Thanks for commenting Jennifer, I’m glad you found it encouraging! I think it’s good to work out what parts of the ‘trimmings’ of Christmas you can do without it overshadowing the main focus on Jesus and that may well be different for everyone. Thank you for sharing your experience – hope you have a great Christmas remembering Jesus’ birth 🙂

  2. December 16, 2012 6:19 pm

    We all have to be careful that the truth we know in Christ does not get mixed with things that are designed to remove the integrity of truth. Nothing wrong with gift giving all year round not just on one single hyped up day that puts most into debt well into the new year.

    • Natalie permalink*
      December 19, 2012 9:32 am

      Thanks Joseph; I do think that you’re right in that the pressure to buy presents (and lots of them!) particularly at Christmas which people feel is far too great and can easily lead to unnecessary and disproportionate amounts of debt. It’s such a shame that for so many people this time of year is not a time of joy and celebration of our saviour’s birth, but one of stress and pressure and worry. I do hope that you have a wonderful Christ-centred Christmas.

  3. December 17, 2012 12:23 am

    Yes, I agree. Thank you for sharing this. We can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of CHRISTmas, that it makes us stressed out and anything but joyful. Imagine if we had to buy gifts for everyone in our families, co-workers, and friends, whenever it was someone’s birthday?! haha This is exactly what we do on Jesus’ birthday. When it should be about CELEBRATING His birth, alone. I make it a point to BREATHE and reflect on Him, during the season. I do buy gifts, send cards, plan parties, bake, and everything else in between. But, most importantly I give THANKS and GIVE praise to the King of Kings.

    • Natalie permalink*
      December 19, 2012 9:37 am

      Thank you very much for your thoughts Lisa, I found them very encouraging 🙂 I’m glad to hear that you’re managing to focus on Jesus, the most important part of Christmas, amongst the busyness of the season. I found it interesting to think about what you said about Christmas being like buying presents for so many people on someone else’s birthday – it is funny when you think about it like it! It also made me think how important it is to acknowledge the person who’s actual birthday it is and the reason for the presents in the first place! Hope you have a brilliant time celebrating Jesus’ birth 🙂

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