As I approach another Christmas season, I wrestle once again with questions about how to best celebrate this important holiday. I ask myself, “Where is Christ in my giving?”
For many years now, I have searched for ways to make the tradition of gift-giving more meaningful. The older I get, the more I see how easy it is to unwittingly get immersed in the commercialization of Christmas. We fear disappointing people, so we over stuff stockings like we do the turkey thinking that more is better.
Of course, it is natural to want to lavish our loved ones with good things. We want to see them happy. To make ourselves happy. And advertisers know how to appeal to that desire by making us equate love and happiness with stuff. But I wonder what this restless quest is doing to us and what the little ones at our gatherings are learning from our retail-driven traditions.
At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, I guess I have just grown plain weary of the laborious search for the perfect gift, the hottest toy, the newest gadget, all of which will most likely wind up in a yard sale or a pile of trash somewhere down the road. Yikes! Did I say that out loud?
And, it is not because I hate shopping. I actually enjoy the sights and sounds associated with holiday shopping excursions. Christmas music playing everywhere, dazzling lights and colorfully decorated displays are fun!
Maybe I’m just longing for a good, old-fashioned approach to the celebration. A return to the simplicity of days gone by when people gave from the heart and received with humility and believed that familiar cliche, It’s the thought that counts.
And I want this holiday to truly be a holy day.
A day to honor our Lord. To worship the Christ of Christmas by giving to those in need, first of all. Remembering Jesus’ command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39) And I also want to learn how to give to those closest to me in a way that honors Him.
I don’t have it all figured out yet. I’m just praying for God to show me how to follow His lead. Because He is the ultimate gift-giver. He gave us Jesus! And He is the whole reason we have to celebrate.
If I can just remember this. This first and foremost. That Jesus is the reason I give. That gift-giving is important because it is a symbolic reminder of His sacrificial gift of love. He fills my life with good things and my gift to Him is the emptying of myself. My heart and hands open and ready to share so that others might receive a blessing.
* I found some great resources for how to celebrate a Christ-centered Christmas over at Jennifer’s blog. She shared some helpful links here at the end of her post.
Lord, please show me how to celebrate Christmas in a way that honors you, by giving from the heart, making this holy day more meaningful and memorable.