Remember the reason for the season
If you are ‘all wrapped up’ in the Christmas season — the last-minute, non-stop shopping, decorating and party-going, I urge you to pause for a moment.
In traffic — pay attention to the ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ sticker on the car in front of you, take time for a prayerful pause, then plan your day around the true meaning of Christmas.
And if you have a mini road rage incident, replace your cursing with a deep breath and a smile.
If you are shopping — don’t hurry by the Salvation Army kettle. Instead, let the bell-ringing be your signal to remember all the charitable organizations counting on you to help them do the Lord’s work.
As for decorating your tree — along with the Santa Claus, candy canes, snowflakes and brightly colored balls, make sure you have symbols that remind you and yours of Christ’s birth, the nativity scene or (as we have in a prominent place on our tree) a large ornament that reminds us, ‘Oh come let us adore Him.’
And here’s another suggestion — if you are one of those who likes to read aloud to kids or grandkids the classic poem ‘The night before Christmas,’ after you’re done, read the story of Christ’s birth. There’s a handy version readily available in most homes and all hotels and motels.
It’s called, “The Bible.”
It’s certainly not my place to suggest a reading, but Luke 2:1-20 is a good starting point.
To save you from having to scramble to find the reading in ‘The Good Book,’ you can read from this not-so-good column:
The Birth of Jesus, according to Luke — New International Version (NIV)
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on Earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
If you still have your kids’ attention, the follow-up story is also good to read aloud. You can find that in Matthew, Chapter 2, Verses 1-12.
Finally, in case Carol and I don’t see you this holiday season, we both want to wish you a blessed, very holy and merry Christmas. And thanks for putting up with all my ranting and writings this year.