It's that time of year! Advent is just around the corner, which means that in a little over 4 weeks, it'll be Christmas!! A time of joy, of peace, of hope, and of love. A time to spend precious moments with family and friends, to go play in the snow, to celebrate the birth of Christ, and...to get frustrated and angry while shopping for presents.
I used to work at Indigo Books. Yeah yeah it's a bookstore, but it was busy around Christmas time. I was a cashier most of the time, so I'd be helping people purchase their gifts, get them gift bags and gift wrap, all that good cheery stuff. But a lot of the people shopping...wow did they hate being there. Complaining about how the line ups were too long, or how we weren't going fast enough, or how all these books and dvds and cds were too expensive. And then somehow at the end of the whole transaction, they mustered up the courage to say "Merry Christmas.”
What in the world is going on??!! To be honest, it made me sad. Actually kind of disgusted, because I know that way too much emphasis is put on materialism in our world already, all year 'round, and for CHRISTMAS to be dumbed down to that level is disheartening. I looked at all the customers buying their gifts, and I wondered why they were really doing it. To show that they cared deeply about certain people, or just because they felt like they had to buy presents? Any time you do ANYTHING for anyone, or give ANYTHING to anyone, it should be because you WANT to show them that you care. Gifts are an outward sign of love, freely given.
So why are so many people hopped up on angry pills every time they go Christmas shopping? Why are so many people upset when it comes to presents in general? Too often, we forget that Christ is the reason for the season. We forget to be thankful for what we have, and why we have it, and why we are here the way we are today. It's because He was born, and humbled himself for all of us. He loves us enough to be BORN as one of us, in order to DIE as one of us, FOR all of us. And when you look at it that way, then everything else pales in comparison. When you look at Christmas as being a season of hope and love between each other because Christ has given us hope and love, then no matter what happens, you'll be happy.
To simply spend time with the people you love and care deeply about - that really should be enough. Chances are you'll get presents, but why place so much emphasis on WHAT you get? Know that like Christ, who was born as a human being of his own free will, you are being given a gift through someone's free will. Likewise, remember that like Christ, you are giving someone a gift by choice, because you love them. "It's the thought that counts." Cliche, but true.
Christmas is under attack, from a politically correct, materialistic world. Despite the many distractions, we need to remember why this season is so important, and why it should resonate so deeply within our hearts. Not because of the gifts, but because of Christ. Once we all remember that, then we'll know why it is called the most wonderful time of the year.