a celebration of the birth of the savior of the universe? a holiday based upon acting fake-nice to please people for a day? something consumeristic america has turned into the day where relative are competing to see who can get the most presents? a day for bratty 5 year olds to get toys they’ll play with for 2 weeks then want something new?
or a day in which families come together to exchange meaningful gifts, possibly share a meal, catch up on lost time, and remember/recognize that Jesus is Lord and thus we are called to a life of humbly serving others before ourselves in the name of the Lord out of love and obedience not just to check of the “christian to do list”?
what is christmas anymore?
i’ve said alot in the paragraphs above, but to me it seems that too many have forgotten what christmas is about.
i’ve seen plenty of news stories about folks who havent but i have witnessed first hand many who have forgotten. and those people who’ve forgotten seem to have also forgotten what the christian life is all about.
this note could be me going on and on about putting christ back in christmas, but instead i invite us to put Christ back in our lives. and i invite us to all put a little more service into our lives. especially around the christmas and thanksgiving seasons, but also year round.
an idea came into my mind last night at church. many children have those countdown calendars to christmas where you get a small gift or a piece of candy or something new every day on the way to christmas. i guess in some way this is ‘giving’ so it goes with the spirit of giving, but i want to spend the 24 days before christmas giving myself to others. giving my time, energy, money, smiles, love, etc to those in need. and by those in need i mean anyone.
i want to devote my time to random acts of kindness like those i saw featured in today’s paper (http://tennessean.com/article/20081225/news06/812250366), smiling at strangers, leaving larger tips at restaurants, cleaning up something when my roommates don’t have time, running errands for family or friends, or just otherwise offering myself up for the benefit of others.
i think this is what the ‘spirit of christmas’ is all about. i dont think Jesus would have been giving out pieces of candy each day (even if they were those lovely little testamints) if he had an advent calendar. i think he would have found service acts much more giving. so i’m going to try and do this next year. i’m also going to try and instill this in my children in the very far off future and ensure that this is a family thing.
christmas is a time of family and a time of giving. 24 days of service is the perfect combination. and i want this service to inspire a lifetime of random service acts. i want it to inspire attitudes of humble servanthood and putting others before ourselves. i know that when i began to do service work (even though i started it as required stuff for a bible class) it began to change my worldview. it began to put life in perspective. it began to make me realize even more clearly that this is not about me, it’s about me using my skills and my knowledge that i have been given by God to do His work in this world. whether or not those i serve know Him is another story, but if i live a life of servanthood in His name, maybe someday someone will notice a difference and ask me about it. then i can share my story.
so this christmas season (the 7 minutes that are left in it) i challenge us all to remember what it’s about. it’s not about nativity scenes, or gifts, or even family meals, its about recognizing what God did for us by sending us his only son to the earth to live a life as a man and then die for us so that we do not have to be separated from our creator forever by our sins that we commit every hour of every day. it’s pretty sweet if you ask me.
i mean more and more lately i find myself unable to stop looking for ways in which i can give my time or energy to serve others. i know i have not done as much as i could have or should have however it will be a constant challenge for me to find random, small or big, time consuming or not, expensive or free, ways to serve Him by serving others. in my mind this is one of the most important factors of being a Christian and so many of us forget that and forget to live that way.
just a simple reminder this christmas season.