For those of you who do not know, this will be our first Christmas with a child who really comprehends the events that will take place at Christmas. Jud is now 3.5 years old and on sensory overload. As a parent, I find that my greatest difficulty is filtering out the real meaning of Christmas from all the distractions that take place at this time of year. We enjoyed setting up our Christmas tree and hanging the lights. We love driving though the neighborhood at night and seeing all the decorations. For some reason, Jud remembers the 8 foot inflatable Santa on our neighbors roof last year. He was shopping with his grandmother in the Dollar Store the other day and proceeded to yell to all the children nearby that Santa is not real. 😉
In reality, while many cultural observances are enjoyable, they should always be overshadowed by that fact that the babe in the manger is the Christ of the cross. I cannot get over the fact that the very God of heaven took on human flesh and chose to sacrifice himself with a brutal death so that I can have eternal life though his resurrection.
Last night, this thought hit me like a ton of bricks when I was standing in an overcrowded Market Basket checkout line. The checker was grumpy and almost reduced to tears. I was annoyed and tired from fighting through the crowds just to get a few things we needed. The whole scene was just one grumpy New England horror show when people are shouting, “Merry Christmas” in annoyance and anger. But this is not Christmas. The exhaustion from shopping, parties, family meals, finding the right gifts, and trying to smile over that ugly sweater that Aunt Bertha knitted for you that might of had a chance of fitting in 1942. This is not Christmas! It is all a distraction.
That Market Basket checker needed hope in her exhaustion, and I was a grumpy Christian standing in front of her with the only true message of hope the world has ever known. It took every fiber of my being to be kind and share with her the hope of Christmas. Everything else is just a distraction. So when you find yourself distracted, overwhelmed, or grumpy this week, remember the true hope of Christmas and boldly share it with others. Remember 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”
Born to Die by Ron Hamilton
On the night Christ was born
Just before the break of morn,
As the stars in the sky were fading,
O’er the place where He lay,
Fell a shadow cold and gray
Of a cross that would humble a King.
Born to die upon Calv’ry,
Jesus suffered my sin to forgive;
Born to die upon Calv’ry,
He was wounded that I might live.