Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leave the Nitpicking at Home...Just Enjoy "Christ"mas!!

Christmas like any thing else means different things to different people.
It mainly depends on how you were raised, what was practiced in your home, or what you learned "after" becoming a Christian.  I want to address the "after" folks today.  I was raised to believe in Santa Claus.  Now...I never really liked him because he never seemed to make it to my house nor did I ever recall very many "merry" Christmases.  So...the Christmas season became one of dread for me, and though I liked the carols, the lights, the "look" of it, I always had this nagging sense of disappointment, because of the failed expectations.

     Now....when I came back to Jesus and found out that December was NOT the birth of Christ, I went on my own personal crusade to "right the wrongs", to bring back the true meaning to Christmas, fa, la, la, la, la!!!   I never taught my own children there was a Santa.  I taught them that every gift they received came from Jesus through us.  But....where I failed.....was thinking they could understand at that early age where I was coming from.  All around them was the myth of Santa being broadcasted at every store, on every commercial, and among their friends.  I thought I was protecting them from the disappointment I experienced as a child.  But, what I did was to make them feel guilty for wanting to believe in something magical.  Yes, we taught them the true meaning of Christmas, but I'm not sure we really helped them to reach that place of understanding that was a blessing to them.  We meant well, and I would not change what I was convicted of, but I also feel we left a bad taste in their mouth.

     I feel,we as Christians, have to be careful in trying to convict others of what we have been convicted of.  The Holy Spirit is the One sent by Jesus to do that.  I wished I had been a smarter young mother, but that is yesterday and I cannot undo those mistakes.

     I see many postings that point the finger and decry the commercialism of Christmas.  Yes...it IS too commercial, but folks....we are NOT going to change the world by guilt.  I see this time of year as a time to "capitalize" on what we as Christians have, and to find every opportunity to exalt the precious Name of our Lord through song, gift-giving, fellowship, cards, etc.

     Jesus teaches us to "believe the best", to "look for the good", and I believe now, that if we do that then we will have His true Spirit shine from our lives.  No..I still will not teach a child there is a Santa Clause, at least not the mythical one.  I do teach, though, of the true St. Nick, who helped hurting children, and was used by God to bring mercy and grace into their lives.

     But....at the same time....I won't knock the Christmas tree!  It may have been used in pagan times, but God made the tree.  Decorate it as a witness to Him!  Fill it with ornaments that exalt His Name.  String lights on it, and tell children He is the Light of the World.  A Christmas tree can be one of the very best sermons ever heard.

     Don't denounce the traditions of others to cause guilt.  Open your heart and home to your neighbors and those in your church.  Oh, I wished I had had someone mold my actions with more grace when I was younger.  We try now to express our love to our children and grandchildren not through " a pointed finger", but through blessing them any way we can.

     If a child asks me if I believe in Santa, I tell them yes!  But, then I tell them the true story.  Let us this time of year "season our words with grace".  Maybe, just maybe, Christ will be born in the heart of someone because of your personal celebration of Him in your words and deeds.

Have a Merry Christmas.....every day!!!