With all the negative things going on all over the world – the senseless killings, the economic recession and its repercussions, the unstable peace and order situation in some parts of the globe, the occurrence of natural disasters and calamities – you may think this is hardly the time to celebrate; more so if you are unemployed, facing financial difficulties, in a precarious health situation, grieving over the loss of a loved one, broken-hearted due to the end of a relationship, working on a job you absolutely don`t like, etc..
I understand how easy it is to lose that excitement, that joyous feeling in one`s heart, that `goodwill towards all men` spirit which we feel especially during the Christmas season. I know. I`ve been there.
I can still remember the many Christmases that passed without me feeling the joy it was supposed to bring. You see, my 14-year old brother died one December morn many years ago. I spent Christmas being angry at God for letting him die. I also can still recall that Christmas when I cried and cried all day after finding out that my boyfriend then whom I loved so much had already another girl and he didn’t even bother to tell me.
Christmas was just another day for me for a long while until…I developed a close relationship with the reason for the season, my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Until I understood deep in my heart the significance of His birth, Christmas was simply an expensive season for me, that time of the year when I spend much much more than I earn, bringing me deeper and deeper into debt!
How true what Lance Wubbels said in his book, “Jesus, the Ultimate Gift”:
“As the bells ring out the joys of Christmas, we need to remember that all gifts are ultimately but a reflection of Jesus, who is the Gift. God became one of us . . . as a baby boy with a tiny smile and two ears and ten fingers and ten toes. Once we see Him for who He really is, we are never the same.”
Are you one of the many who thinks that Christmas is not worth celebrating? Are you hurting? Listen, I have something very personal to tell you.
This year has been the worse for me in terms of finances. Taking care of my 85 year old mom who has Parkinson’s Disease has kept me from earning a full-time income. And having a full-time income is the only way I can think of for me to be able to afford a caregiver for her. There are times when I get so frustrated, I wanted to work to earn but taking care of mom 24/7 prevents me from doing so. This Christmas, I can barely afford to buy gifts for my loved ones.
I hardly have any social life at all. I can’t leave the house whenever I want like I used to as no one will look after my mom while I’m gone. There are days when I get so tired and weary and sad. I have every reason not to celebrate Christmas.
But honestly, I now look forward to Christmas with joy in my heart. It wasn’t like that at first but then I got to thinking. I thought of my friends and loved ones. They are gifts from God. Then I asked myself: what would my life be like without them? And then I asked myself: what would my life be like without my Lord Jesus Christ? And the answers that welled up from within me was more than enough to make me go down on my knees and weep with joy. I have every reason to celebrate Christmas after all!
Do you have someone in your life you truly care a lot about and who truly loves you – your husband, wife, child, parents, brother, sister, best friend perhaps? Ask yourself, what would your life be like without that special someone in your life. When their birthday is coming, don’t you go out of your way to find them a gift? Don’t you get excited when their big day is coming because you can hardly wait to give them your gift?
I hope it’s the same when you think of God. Ask yourself what would your life be like without Him. Surely, you can think of situations where His divine help or intervention was apparent. His birthday is coming. What gift can you give Him? He loves you unconditionally and He longs for you to have a close relationship with Him.
Celebrate this season with Christ in it. God so loves us that He gave Himself to us through His beloved Son. He is the real reason for this season. It`s all about Him, it`s not all about gift giving, Santa Claus, partying, rest and recreation, etc. Without Him, this season is just a holiday season.
I will end this blog post not with “Happy Holidays” or ” Season’s Greetings”. Instead, with all my heart, I wish you a blessed and grace-filled Christmas!