The morning air had already begun to get brisk and now it stayed darker for longer in the morning. Daylight savings was just around the corner. The leaves displaying their multitude of shades as they drop lightly from the trees, car windows covered in the morning dew, not yet winter but knowing it’s right around the corner. I had only stopped to get bug spray but as I stood in the checkout line I remembered, “I need to get Christmas lights!”
The Baby in the Manger – Our Immanuel
My friends, Christmas for me once meant the warm feeling of smelling and drinking peppermint tea; cocoa; gifts under the tree; the lights and the gigantic tree in the malls and of course the hyped consumerism that goes with it. Over the years, this meaning changed when I met people from all walks of life sharing how lonely this season has become for various reasons. The change for me was three-fold:
When I first got married, there was an intense debate over the proper Christmas décor for our new home together. My husband insisted on Santa Claus, while I was equally adamant that snowmen were the way to go. Finally, we decided Christmas décor wasn’t worth our marriage, and we compromised by decorating with Christmas trees.
The smell of pine, the dropping temperatures that freeze your nose, peppermint fudge and lattes to dazzle your senses. Lights everywhere, carols you’ve heard a million times being played through every shopping mall, family traditions, and a baby in the manger. It’s Christmas.
Luke 1:28 “And having come in, the angel said to her, ‘Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Naturally, we want the Christmas story to be a happy one. It’s our tendency to romanticize events even in the Bible, but sometimes the most significant stories are filled with pain, disappointments, tragedy and grief. Mary’s story within the Christmas story is one that has always fascinated me in that way. If I could talk to her, I’d love to hear her take. Not the commercialized, glamorized story we may tell. I mean the story that is less celebrated.
When I was younger, my family never celebrated Christmas. The only reason I wanted to celebrate Christmas at home was I wanted presents/gifts, since all the Christmas movies I saw showed Santa Claus as source of presents.
I grew up in a large family. As a large, poor family we seldom had a Christmas tree, much less Christmas toys. We waited for Santa Claus, but usually we got…a note promising presents “next year”…
Every year, we buy a box of candy canes and hook them one by one onto our wooden snowman candy cane holder that sits on the kitchen counter for the whole Christmas season. The candy canes look pretty, and I’m sure they taste delicious, but I couldn’t really tell you. That’s the funny thing: although we do this every year, I’m always so busy running from work to church to Christmas parties that I don’t think I’ve ever actually eaten one.
There’s a bit of controversy about where the candy cane originated, but most people think that a choirmaster from the late 17th century had trouble keeping his young choir in line. He decided to give them candy sticks to keep them quiet—but not just any candy.
America celebrates Thanksgiving this month. But this should not just be an American celebration done once a year, it should be a global celebration done every day. Christ followers and non-Christ followers should live a life of thanksgiving for the gift of life, salvation health, finance, relationship, career, business opportunities, talents, time and so on.
This is a guest blog by Maria Drayton. Maria is an amazing devotional writer, and I love how she tied in this message of thankfulness (’tis the season!) to this post on social media comparisons An important message around this time of year, I think. Enjoy your time with family and friends! Be content.