“What do you think of Christmas?”It was an innocent question, but I received some surprising responses. We were decorating our chapel for Christmas and had stopped for a break when I asked “What do you think of Christmas?” There were several painful groans and then one of the ladies that was helping stated flatly, “I Hate Christmas.” I was a little surprised by the honesty of her response, but as she explained what she meant many of the others started to agree. One of the ladies went as far as to say she was going to change her name to “Grinch” and that “there would be no Christmas in her house.” I think we all have probably felt some of these frustrations with this time of year. The busyness of the season, the commercialization of the holiday, the expectations of family and friends, traffic, Black Friday on Thanksgiving Thursday, all of this adds up to what can become a miserable time of year. Do you think we lost something in Christmas? Jesus promised us that His “yoke is easy” and that his “burden is light.” I don’t think that God “became flesh” so we can stress about His Season. I don’t want to discourage the fun parts of Christmas, the presents, Santa, candy canes, pumpkin pie, lights and Christmas trees, but I don’t want anyone to miss the true meaning of Christmas: the Son of God, Jesus our Savior. Jesus is the true gift of Christmas and the true meaning of Christmas. The rest is just fun tradition that sometimes hampers the real celebration. I feel sometimes we forget Jesus and get caught up in the party decorations or the Christmas gifts. So rather than allowing this season to discourage us, let’s agree to find time this year to share the true meaning of Christmas. There is no getting around the busyness of the season, but let’s slow down just enough to remember what we are truly celebrating here is not a gift under the tree, but the gift that God has freely provided on the tree: His Son Jesus. When we are out these last few weeks before Christmas and we see someone stressing a little too much, give them a smile. Share some of God’s love with them and maybe, if the opportunity arises, you can share with them what Christmas is truly about. • Lt. Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army in Carson City.
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