watching, reading, and writing stories

Christmastime is Here

on December 7, 2015

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Everywhere you look, Christmas is there. The familiar tunes blare on the radio and in the stores you see the wintry themes and special deals. You’ve probably run into a few Santa’s by now, either taking pictures with children or ringing bells, or just figurines set up all over the place. Lights are decorating the parks, houses, streets and storefronts. The smell of pine needles may be filling your home, either from a real tree or a nice candle. And then there’s all the things to do: parties, shopping, baking, decorating, and whatever else the holidays bring.

I’ve noticed that my old blog post about what Christmas is about has gotten quite a few views even though it’s a very old post. When this time of years rolls around, it’s easy to get caught up in the hubbub and then wonder, wait, why am I even doing all this?

And that’s an important question. Why are you buying gifts? Why are you going to that party? Why are you decorating? What’s so important about Christmas?

My pastor talked last week about how Christmas has become an idol in our culture. We put all of this pressure on ourselves to have a “Perfect Christmas” and think that it will solve all our problems. So we try to get the perfect gifts for others, and give hints to our family and friends of what we really want. We spend all this money and time on doing things and most of the time, we just wear ourselves out. If that’s what Christmas is all about, it’s no wonder so many people get depressed around the holidays. It’s impossible to have a perfect Christmas. There’s always something that went wrong, something you never got around to doing, or something you had to say no to because you can’t say yes to everything.

But this year, God has been teaching me something about my heart. I’ve known the lies of consumerism and materialism and commercialism: Get More and You’ll be Happy. I know that isn’t true. But I’ve still bought into the habits. I feel a pressure to buy people gifts, even if they don’t really want what I’m giving them. I’ve started making lists of what I want for Christmas each year. And each year I just end up with more things that I can’t even remember who gave them to me.

So, after reading a radical book about decreasing called “7” by Jen Hatmaker. I decided that this December, I’d try my own kind of reduction. Instead of feeding the consumerism desires in my heart, I’m looking for ways to give. And not by going out and buying things to give away, but sorting through the things I already have and finding ones to let go of. I’ve already cleared through my bookshelf and stuffed animal collection. And boy things look a lot less cluttered. But more than that, I’ve started noticing places where I can give and finding joy in actually doing it. It’s not one more thing I need to do, one more thing I need to buy. It’s letting go of what I already have, what really belongs to God anyway and seeing someone else enjoy it. It’s so freeing.

So this year, I’m trying my best to give the way God has given, even when it hurts, and find joy in the true reason for the season: Jesus Christ who gave His perfect life for me.


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