Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ah, Christmas!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I love the lights, the decorations, the music, and just the magic that seems to fill the air this time of year. I love finding that perfect gift for someone and then watching their expression as they open it. I love the traditions we have started with our children.  I love baking Christmas cookies and candy with them, sipping hot cocoa while we watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and other Christmas classics.  It's just a fun time of year.

It is also a very hypocritical time of year. This thought has occurred to me over the years, but is becoming more apparent because of a certain 8-year-old gremlin.  So many shout about how Christmas' sole purpose is to celebrate Jesus' birth.  They talk about putting the "Christ" back in Christmas.  The sad fact is that most of the people shouting about the "Christ" in Christmas (NOT everyone, but A LOT) are the same ones who have actually removed Christ from the equation with their hypocrisy.  Were you really following Christ's birth you would give to those in need.  You would remember that Jesus was, in fact, Jewish.  Hmmm . . . so would he be celebrating Christmas or, perhaps, Hanakkuh (As you shout about not saying Happy Holidays because it offends you).

You put up Christmas trees in your home, which derives from the Winter Solstice, which is (gasp) a Pagan holiday. Snowmen, reindeer, Santa, elves, gingerbread men, wreaths, Christmas lights . . . all fun, all pretty, and all have absolutely nothing to do with Christ's birth. Taking it a step farther, your church has a Christmas Eve service so that you and your family, (who, don't forget, shout about keeping the Christ in Christmas) can go worship and, dare I say, CELEBRATE Christ's birth.  You don't go, though.  You, instead, take 5 minutes to read the Christmas story and then toss the book aside and say, "Who wants to pass out presents?"

People get loans to pay for things that their children don't need, yet when we see someone who is truly in need, we turn away and claim we can't afford to help.  I once read that if you truly believe that Christmas is about Jesus' birth, then you should be giving a lot away.  If you have two coats give one of them to someone who doesn't have a coat.  We gather with families and set out more food than we can all eat.  Sadly, a lot of that food gets thrown away while so many (in our own communities) are going hungry.

You want Christ to be in Christmas but when people ask you to give you puff out your chest and argue that you work hard for your money and instead of you following Jesus' example and giving, they should just get jobs.  Well, okay, you're entitled to your opinion, but what about that 6-year-old girl who comes home from school and goes to bed hungry because there is no food?  Or that 11-year-old boy who never wears a coat because his mom couldn't afford to buy him one?

We shout about keeping Christ in Christmas, yet we are the first ones to remove him by our selfish actions and comments. To those of you who speak of keeping Christ in Christmas and you give of your time, you give money, you serve, you help and you try to follow Christ's example -- thank you.  To those who shout about keeping Christ in Christmas, yet, you yourself do NOT keep Christ in Christmas, let me just remind you that you are the example for our children . . . WE are the example for our children.

I have an 8-year-old who is very observant and thinks about everything.  He has started asking me why certain people he is around talk about God and giving, but they do the opposite.  He has really made us think -- and notice other's actions. I encourage us all to practice what we preach.  Remember . . . the world is watching.  What is it they see when they look at you?