It’s Christmas Time Again

It is hard to believe that 2018 only has one month left in it.  Didn’t we just celebrate New Year’s?  Of course, it is December and with that comes Christmas and all the busyness and celebration that surrounds it including Christmas Shopping. I don’t know about you, but I do not look forward to Christmas shopping.
I’m sort of like the two men decided to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. While the men were sailing a storm came up-a mighty storm that tossed the boat back and forth across the water. Finally, the tiny sailboat was forced upon the shore of a small island. The men jumped out of the boat tried to push it back into the water. Suddenly, they realized they were being fired upon by the island’s hostile natives. As they dodged poisonous darts, standing waist deep in freezing water in the middle of a storm, one said to the other, “I realize that today hasn’t exactly gone as planned, but this sure beats Christmas shopping, doesn’t it?!” At least now there is Amazon.
  Of course, one of the best things for me at Christmas is to see the joy on one of my grandchildren’s face when they open the present they were really hoping for, so I guess the shopping can be worth it.  But that got me thinking where does the idea of Christmas shopping come from?
Does it come from the legend of Saint Nicolas back in the third century AD who secretly gave food, money and clothing to the poor of his town?  Or does it go further back to the Magi who brought gifts to the newborn king, or was it just thanking about the love that God has for us that as the Apostle John put it “that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes in him will have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
But the fact is, and no one can get around this, is that when we come to this time of the year giving to others becomes foremost in our thoughts.  And this tradition has its roots in the Christian faith. I know that when we come to this time of the year many of us lament the fact that so much of the real meaning of Christmas, the celebration of the Nativity has been lost not only in the commercialism, but also the humanistic idea that this celebration should have no Christian base.  My daughter who teaches music in the public schools can have songs about Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer but can’t teach the kids “Away in a Manger” or “Silent Night.”
It always bothers me when I hear those kinds of stories where people try to remove Christ from his own birthday party but then I remember that it really doesn’t matter what they do because Christ is still here and he will not leave because that is the story of Christmas that the virgin gave birth to a son and they called his name Immanuel which means “God with us”  (from Matthew 1:23) And he is with us and he has promised to be so always.

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