Thanksgiving is over and the beautiful fall colors have been replaced with red and green and twinkling lights. We have entered the season of Christ’s birth. The namesake of this holiday is so often forgotten, pushed aside, or replaced by a jolly old man in a red suit, congested malls, and holiday specials you can’t afford to miss.
While I love my tree lights and all the ornaments and decorations, without the gift of love given to us by that tiny baby born so long ago, Christmas would be shallow and superficial.
Christmas is a time when we can make a special effort to reach out to those who are hurting or are alone. A few minutes of our time, an empathetic listening ear, and understanding can be huge to those who are suffering from a loss or loneliness.
Love. We use the word so casually – almost superficially – sometimes even flippantly.
“I just love this dress!”
“I love chocolate ice cream.”
“Don’t you just love those people?”
We use the word so glibly, and in the process, often reduce it to levels of lustful desire or small talk.
But what does it mean to love? To give the gift of love?
What if… We discovered that Christmas really was more than holiday get-togethers, calculated gifts, and the compulsory visits to relatives we otherwise would not speak to?
Would we truly experience Christmas?
What if… We really got it; that Christmas is about the birth of a Savior?
Would we realize our need for Him?
What if… We stopped trying to live perfect lives, pretending we had it all together?
Would we become real?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son….”
Christmas: a time of decorated trees and fireplace mantels. A time filled with commitments and hectic schedules as we make mad dashes to the store for last-minute presents.
Our “have to” lists are long and sometimes burdensome. But the love list attached to each of those gifts we select and purchase are filled with joy and anticipation; we can’t wait to see the pleasure our gift will bring to someone we love.
Both lists are necessary. One fulfills a sense of duty and propriety. The other fills our heart with joy.