Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't Get too Caught Up

With nine days left 'til Christmas, retailers are being swarmed with customers anxiously trying to complete those Christmas lists. Businesses are bombarding us with advertisements for all the latest and greatest gadgets for the special people in our lives. We want to wow our loved ones on Christmas day, so we scramble to get all those things on their wish lists in hopes they will feel loved and that they will love us more in return.


It's so easy to get caught up in the hype, and no doubt it's a great feeling to watch someone's face as they open a gift you've given them. But it's important to not forget what this whole thing is about in the first place. And just what is Christmas about anyway? If you ask a child, no doubt you'll get the answers: "Toys!" "Presents!" "Santa!" "Reindeer!" and "Cookies!" We have to admit, that's certainly become a big part of it. But is that really the most important message we want to send?

I have some friends and family members who have experienced job loss in this economy. They all have families to take care of and children who are anxiously awaiting that jolly old elf. Some have asked for help from their churches or from family to provide some of those presents under the tree. Others are scaling back and only providing the necessities. All are feeling the pressure from outside sources to give more than they are financially capable of this year.

It's easy to get caught up in the holiday shopping hype, and heaven knows I've done it too, but we need to try to take a step back and remember why we do this in the first place. Christmas isn't about giving our children, family and friends the latest and greatest things money can buy. It's not even about that big dinner you may serve to your loved ones. It's not about the parties or the cookies or the cards. While all of those things are nice, and feel great to both give and receive, it's the by product of the holiday, but not the reason for it.

Christmas is about the gift we all were given with the birth of our Lord. The way He came to be in this world; the lessons He taught while He was here; and the way He died for us were His ultimate gifts to us. These are gifts we will never be able to match, no matter how hard we may try.

It's so important to not let the message of the season get lost with all those material things. Christmas is about giving. Most of us got that part of the message. But it's not about having the best gift or the most gifts or the right gifts. It's about coming together and sharing, loving, caring, helping, and remembering. It's about all those good things that we all love to experience and be the recipients of. 

So maybe this year would be a good year to sit down and talk about why we celebrate this holiday, or any other holiday. You might find that the memories you create with this discussion will be more lasting than any one of those presents under the tree.