Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas is...

While a lot of traditions have connected themselves to Christmas, it's not really about tradition. Let's not celebrate tradition instead of Christmas. Celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ can be done any number of ways without being wrong but the key to a good Christmas does begin with the first syllable, Christ. 

Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. 

Although the giving and receiving of gifts, the beautifully sparkling lights, bright cheery colors often seen at Christmas time and wonderfully prepared family meals are things that we all can appreciate. Christmas is not really about bows, ribbons and great excesses of the just right food, prepared in just the right way. It's not about getting or even giving the most, and biggest gifts and it's not a time to gossip about the absent members of the family, or to bring up past grudges.

Instead of overburdening ourselves or each other with preparations or expectations in excess, we can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and perhaps remember how the Lord prioritized a similar event with His presence (Luke 10:38-42)
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
If you have the opportunity and live near your family, be with them and build some good memories together. If your friends are your closest family, spend your Christmas with them and put aside your differences, be kind and friendly. Help each other build good memories and then cherish those memories together in the years to come. 

Christmas not about being better than your neighbor, it's about being good, kind, friendly and helpful to your neighbor. It's not a competition. 

As many people are in the middle of their annual Christmas preparations, getting everything just right for that perfect experience, sometimes with a focus slightly diffused by trying to be (and do) too many things in too short a time. I leave you with one little thought. Harold Samuel Kushner, a prominent American rabbi once said: 
The purpose in life is not to win. The purpose in life is to grow and to share. When you come to look back on all that you have done in life, you will get more satisfaction from the pleasure you have brought into other people's lives than you will from the times that you outdid and defeated them. 

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

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