My favorite holiday of the whole year is Thanksgiving. I love hanging out with my cousin, aunt, uncle, grandmother, and other family out in Commerce, TX. I love my family very much, and having a chance to take time out of my busy school year to spend a whole day with them stuffing as much turkey, pie, and…stuffing down my throat while the Cowboys lose makes me a very happy man. This past Thanksgiving in particular I ate so much I almost threw it back up laughing hysterically at Tim Hawkins.
Now Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but my favorite time of year is the full month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I love the lights going up, the weather getting colder (or at least it’s supposed to be, Christmas music playing, and gift shopping. I love watching movies like White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Christmas Carol while drinking hot chocolate by the fireplace, even if it is 60 degrees outside. I love the feeling of being done with yet another semester of school and relaxing with video games, television, and some light reading. It’s just a wonderful time of year all around. It’s all about love and family and celebrating the end of another year. I’m not forgetting anything am I? No I can’t be. This is definitely what Christmas is all about – commercialism and family. Oh wait. Of course! CHRISTmas! How could I forget about that? Well apparently, it’s not as hard as you might think. I mean, every day we are allowed to live for another 24 hours, we should praise God for. But we never do; we never even consider each hour we continue to exist to be the blessing that it is. Why should we act any different when there is a holiday that celebrates his actual coming to Earth to save us from ourselves?
Today, after a whole season of not blogging due to the incredible load of full time school and two jobs, I am coming to you frustrated. I am not really frustrated at anything specifically, but more at the world in general including myself, for I am no better than anyone else. All I see these days when I look around me is a world full of self-absorbed people who can’t even see past their own noses. Call me old-fashioned, but what ever happened to loving your neighbor? Instead we’re trampling each other to get that last gift on Black Friday? What ever happened to caring for someone other than ourselves? The other day I sat in front of a Wal Mart, watching a Salvation Army bell-ringer. I counted 59 consecutive people walking past her before someone stopped to put a few cents in the collection bin.
What ever happened to CHRIST being the center of CHRISTmas? Do you know that I was reading The Mercury the other day (UT Dallas student paper) and in the Opinion column a writer criticized people for overly participating in all of this commercialism instead of respecting the religious aspect of the holiday. The crazy part about this article was that its writer is a self-proclaimed atheist. I was awestruck…not that an atheist would write positively about the Christian aspect of a holiday, but that I felt him pointing a finger at myself and a lot of my Christian friends. As Christians we should realistically be celebrating Christmas and Easter all year round, but if we can’t bring ourselves to do that, then we should at least find ourselves focusing on the true purpose of Christmas – and when you think about it, it is quite amazing.
I love the words of the classic Christmas song:
“Mary did you know
That your baby Boy
Would someday walk on water?
Mary did you know
That your baby Boy
Would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby Boy
has come to make you new?
And this Child that you’ve delivered
Will soon deliver you?”
I love the idea behind this song, but it’s stated even more obviously in the little known Relient K song:
“The first time that you opened Your eyes –
Did You realize that You be my Savior?
And the first breath that left Your lips –
Did You know that it would change this world forever?
I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life.”
I find the idea absolutely incredible. Can you fathom what kind of love it would take for God to do what he did on the very first Christmas? Think about it – think about what sacrifice He knew He was making the moment His Spirit entered Mary. He (the Son) raised Himself in this imperfect and diseased world perfect in His (the Father) own eyes for one and ONLY ONE reason – to suffer the excruciating and humiliating consequence of sin. But being perfect and yet suffering this consequence, He literally broke the Law, allowing for us true sinners to live with Him forever in paradise. All He asks is that we accept Him (The Spirit). That’s it. There are no words to describe the measure of grace and love this act requires. All I can do is say it one more time. God….God who breathes stars into creation…manifested himself in human form for the sole purpose of having His body ripped to shreds by metal and leather, pierced by a crown of spikes shoved onto his head, mocked and wet with an inglorious mixture of spit and blood, and hung up on a cross where He struggled to push/pull himself up each time He wanted to breathe using the nails that had been drilled through his body for support. And He knew that this was His ultimate destiny the moment He entered this world. Yet He never turned back – never faltered – because He wants you so very badly.
All of this started on the very first Christmas. We should honor Him for this with our every breath. But the very least we can do is set aside a little bit of time each day and just praise God for giving us these lives, the chance to live without fear of life after death.
So this Christmas, we should all come together and instead of celebrating traditions and music and presents and family, celebrate the unfathomable love of God. Because right now, more than ever, we need to recognize God as the Ruler of the Universe. He alone has control of everything that is going on. As this dark world spirals more rapidly toward its entropic fate with every passing day, we need to acknowledge Him even more, praise Him for saving us, and pray for His rapid return.
I dedicate this post to the victims of the Newtown, Connecticut tragedy yesterday. My thoughts and prayers have and will continue to go out to you constantly.