Twinkling stars, angels’ wings and heavenly choruses proclaimed the birth of the Christ Child on that first Christmas day. Wise men came from afar to acknowledge the child who would become the Great King and to pay homage with valuable gifts.
We have certainly drifted far from the original celebration in the last 2,000 years. Many people are more familiar with Santa Claus and Rudolph than they are the story of the babe in a manger. Commercialism has exploited every aspect of the holiday and drawn the season more and more into the secular arena as possible, so as not to offend anyone who doesn’t want to celebrate a Christian holy day.
Christmas trees, stockings hung with care, milk and cookies and magical elves have absolutely nothing to do with the original story of Christmas and God’s love for mankind. By the time this season is over, most people are glad to put away their decorations, left over wrapping paper, outdoor lights, and punch bowls trying to forget about it all for the next eleven months on the calendar.
I think Christmas should last all year.
Instead of piling up a mound of presents under the tree to be torn open and discarded on a moment, why don’t we spread the gift giving over the entire year to people we love, or for people who are truly in need? Instead of hording our money and our generosity to cover the holiday gifting, why don’t we do the little things we can do all along the way.
Instead of asking friends over for a Christmas party or holiday dinner, why don’t we open our homes and fill our lives with good friends and fellowship throughout the year? The Christmas cookies, candy and other goodies that people have too much of in this final week of December would mean so much to so many if they were spread out and evenly distributed throughout the year.
Christmas songs reserved for church plays and one month out of the year are often worthy of singing all year long, such as “Joy to the World.” Hand written cards with family photos would be a welcome treat in June as much as December.
The kindness we show to strangers, the food baskets, school shoe box programs for needy children, and donations for the poor given at Christmas would be greatly appreciated in the other eleven months, as well.
I love Christmas. The season seems to me to bring out the very best in people. I once knew a man who was pretty Grinchy the whole year through, but for the month of December he was a right jolly old elf. I always thought to myself, “If he can be that kind, that good, and that excited about life one month out of the year, then why doesn’t he live like that all the time?”
I don’t especially want artificial Christmas trees in the corner of my living room all year long, or stacks of Christmas cookies waiting to be delivered. What I do want in my heart the whole year is the spirit of Christmas alive and well.
I want to remember every single day that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes in Him should have everlasting life. I want to practice the art of giving to those in need. I want to think about doing acts of kindness for others more than for myself.
Perhaps most of all, and all year long, I would love to see “Peace on Earth, good will to men.”
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.