Focusing on Christmas

As Christmas 2015 passed by, it caused me to reflect this year more than ever on the value of celebrating this season.  What matters most during this season? Is it truly about the giving of gifts, the receiving of special presents from friends and loved ones or is it about simply the celebration of the birth of Christ? 

The answer seems to be as individual as we are people. It also varies with our age and where we are with our life. However there is a universal commonality that we all agree on, those of us that believe Jesus is the Son of God. That is, that the greatest gift is son of God born on Christmas Day. With Him we gained an immeasurable wealth of knowledge and heard of his suffering in human flesh.  We know, through his work, deeds and words, we will have eternal salvation by living in His word and believing in Him.

The many traditions of Christmas have redeeming value and are embraced by so many of us. Gift giving is delightful. It feeds our economy, it is a great means of expression and for children, it is the highlight of the season.  Santa and getting presents pleases children of all ages to no end!

For many families, Christmas is the only time of the year they will make every effort to be together. Christmas is a beautiful time when generations can come together as reunions have become something more of the past. It gives today’s families the opportunity to put aside their differences, their family feuds and such and show how, in spite of all their differences, they can be united as one in the name of their family for this one special time of year.

Many of us have family memories of Christmases past. Today’s families are replicating some of these to keep them alive and also creating new
Christmas traditions.  These moments of memories can be bittersweet because some of us have lost family members. Being triggered with the reminder there will be no more Christmases with them can be sad but God’s word is we will see them again, one day. Still others are isolated from their families, left only with memories of the past.  Those of us will and do find new ways, new families of choice to celebrate the joy of the season as God would wish each of us to do.

Christmas is a time of love. This is a time to remember how deeply each of us are loved by God, so much so He gave us only son to us. There is 
not one of us that is loved more or loved less by God. Embracing others is what we are called to do at Christmas time. Living the spirit of Christ is living his word all year long, not just this time of year.  It is his message that should be leading your steps down the path of life not just towards a Christmas tree or a manger scene.

As I have aged, I have found the walk towards God and His word easier to take. Following his path does lead you to greener pastures. You may lose some people you love along the way but God never promised making the right choices in life would be an easier path.  But he does promise never to desert you when others may.

Those that gravitate away will either find their way back to you, or not. It is a matter of free will, their choice, not yours.   You can only control your own faith journey and it should not deter your own growth.  Find and give forgiveness for others regardless of whether others are willing to give this to you. Love others enough to let them go if that love is harmful to you and not leading to growth.  Your life is limited; use your time sensibly and preciously.

Take the message of Jesus as the best Christmas gift you received this year.  Remember, it is the gift that truly keeps on giving long after the Christmas season is gone.  Hold it gingerly, and keep reopening it each day.  Share that gift with those willing to take it, hold it and incorporate it into their lives.  Use it to build yourself into a better person, someone more loving, more compassionate and more devout in faith.  You never know when the day will come when God will call you home. The gift is intangible God gave you but the rewards will multiply and your life will feel like Christmas every day.