For many years I have said, “I’d just like to sit this Christmas out.” The stress of buying the right gift, mailing it out in time, writing up the Christmas cards, attending Christmas parties, etc. was just too much. At the end I always felt let down. I truly believed Christmas was best enjoyed by children. As you may know, I’ve been unemployed since May, so with finances so tight, I decided I really wasn’t going to do Christmas. Not one gift, no stack of cards, not even my 6 ft. artificial Christmas tree. Then the shooting at the elementary school occurred and changed my mind.
I am still kind of numb at the news of the massacre. I think I, along with the nation, have become numb to hearing about children in urban areas being killed by stray bullets. However, hearing of 20 children being killed at one time in one area by one person jars me. It shakes me because I realize how many untreated mentally ill people they are. As a Christian, it scares me because I realize how active the spiritual realm is in our physical world. The devil is so busy. So what makes me think of Christmas?
The day after Christmas I had altar guild duty. I help dress the altar the day before service. Afterwards I spent about 45 minutes praying, just grieved in my spirit at such a barefaced display of evil in our land. I realized that my life truly is in the hands of God and every breath I take is at his pleasure. It is his protection I seek every day and his divine guidance. Truthfully this madness makes me long for heaven. And that is where Christmas comes in.
If Jesus had not come, I would not have faith that when I die physically, I will still live eternally in the spiritual realm. If I did not have Christmas, I wouldn’t be able to look past this life because what would I be looking forward to? A big question sign? Hoping that there is something after this craziness? If I did not have Christmas, I would not have the opportunity to reflect that the God of the universe actually took on the human flesh and entered into humanity in the form of a man named Jesus.
So I will celebrate Christmas. No I don’t believe he was born on December 25. Who knows what day really? And yes I know this date was originally the date of the pagan festival of Saturnalia and it became Christmas when Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire. But in the same way we take a day to remember someone or an event of importance, there is no reason I cannot choose to make December 25 be the day I remember a person who has had such a great effect on my life…and on society in general.
I still won’t be sending out the Christmas cards and I am not buying any gifts. My celebration of Christmas will be going to church and remembering the amazing person of Jesus Christ and how he came into this world because he saw what evil was taking place and would continue to take place unless men changed their hearts. I’ll be going to church and giving thanks for how I have made it through another year. It will be celebrating the value Jesus has given me and me finally believing I am of value, “a pearl of great price.” I will be celebrating Christmas. Anything else is just Saturnalius.