Thanksgiving or Christmas? Which one do you love? Or is it just that they simply must come in order: Don’t forget to give thanks before you dive into the most materialistic, self-indulgent, stressful, and exhausting season of the year?
I see the holidays differently. I love Autumn. I love the rich the colors, the harvest, the warm comfort foods, and the family coming together to give thanks for the many blessings God has given. There is no more elegantly beautiful time of year!
But Christmas is my favorite holiday. It’s not about getting gifts (although I really love to give them). In fact, I told my family that all I want this year is for them to love me–and they assured me they already do! The reason I love Christmas so much is that all the world (yes, even amongst those who do not consider themselves “religious,” and even sometimes, amongst those who claim a different religion) seems to come alive and celebrate the season. And whether the intent of each soul is to worship or not, the party is for Jesus! Didn’t Jesus bring joy and celebration to folks around him, sometimes in very practical ways? He turned water into wine at a wedding. He fed 5,000 people when they needed nourishment. He healed the sick and raised the dead! He taught us not to judge and to forgive. He taught us to spend time with people in need of hope, and to consider others as better than ourselves. That sounds like quite a celebration, doesn’t it? You see, whether it’s overt and intentional, or deep under the surface, Jesus started this party!
Despite the materialistic society we live in, people increase their giving during this season. Stories of peace and goodwill abound through our social media, through our television specials, our concerts, our music, and the sending and receiving of greetings. Some employees receive Christmas bonuses, and some without jobs receive gifts of food, clothing, and other necessities.
Yes, we have a long way to go. We have a lot of needs to meet. But maybe if we were living in the spirit of Christmas all year long there would be fewer needs, and more people able to feel truly thankful for all that they have received.
And the thing that I am most thankful for, not only at Thanksgiving, but all year long? A tiny, helpless baby, born in a barn, God with us, Emmanuel, who left his Father’s side in heaven to save a world heaped in sin. The world back then was as needy of Him as we are today. And God loved us enough to send us a solution. Thank you God, for that wonderful first gift. Thank you, God, for Christmas!
Please enjoy this link to my favorite Christmas Song of all time. It brings me to tears year after year.