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Up until five years ago I thought Christmas was all about Santa Claus, decorating trees and presents. Lots and lots of presents, which meant lots and lots of shopping. The greeting I gave this time of year was always, and still is, ‘Merry Christmas’.
My Christmas was all about planning for the arrival of the fat jolly guy in the red suit who lived at the North Pole with the elves making presents all year long. As a child I worried about whether or not I was on Santa’s naughty list. I always made a Christmas wish list for Santa. To make sure he knew exactly what I wanted, I would tape a picture of the item and list the stores where he could get it.
Now my Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. We still do the same things at Christmas. We still decorate a tree and shop for presents. I do feel different though. I notice things I never noticed before, like the to-do list of things that most people could care less if I do or not. The to-do list is something that brings stress, not joy, to my life. This year I decided not to do a few of my to-do list items. I’m not sending out Christmas cards and we didn’t even attempt to make baked goodies this year.
I find myself being bothered by the extra long hours many stores are open. I use to love it because it gave me extra time to shop. Now I feel sad for the employees who must work extra hours instead of being home with their families. I do realize some families look forward to working the extra hours, but I still think the stores have gone a little too far. Shopping on Thanksgiving Day and in the middle of the night, I think, is not necessary.
Last week at church the sermon was about not being haunted by Christmas present. We were challenged to buy less presents and be more present. I love that! I think the most valuable gift you can give someone is your time. That doesn’t mean you can’t give gifts. You can make them. There are so many great gifts to give that can be made. Pinterest is full of great ideas. I know its kind of late in the game this year to decide to make Christmas gifts, but think about it for future Birthdays, Anniversaries and certainly for next Christmas.
Whether you celebrate the birth of Jesus, Santa Claus, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, nothing or whatever it might be, I wish you and your family a season filled with love, joy, peace and togetherness.
My prayer for us today ~ May God who understands each need, who listens to every prayer, bless you and keep you in His tender loving care, Amen