It's Christmas - Devotions from Mandisa : Day 1
It seems the minute Halloween is over and kids are either bouncing off walls or groaning from sugar-induced stomachaches, retail stores rush into overhaul mode. Out goes decorative pumpkins, fall paper foliage, and other autumn-colored accents. In comes a blinding array of red and green product. Holiday music blares through speakers. Aisle shelves are suffocated by wrapping paper, decorations and batteries, flanked by brazen signs promising to beat competitors’ prices.
To some, it can be groan worthy. Seeing Christmas décor plastered all over stores brings with it a sense of doom. It’s easy to envision long lines at the check out counter, unbearable traffic, the hassle of battling crowds for the perfect gift, and rising credit card bills.
And it’s just as easy to brush past the magic. The wonder. The joy. The miracle. The celebration.
Let’s not forget
In the middle of the craziness
Jesus is the reason
For this time of the year
Every year we are warned against the sins of commercialism. We are told to stop focusing on presents, decorating, and spending money. Point taken. But it can be tempting to get distracted by the warnings ad nauseam and miss out on the joys of celebrating.
Heaven and earth proclaim
Come on, let’s celebrate
Think about this. Jesus wasn’t born in the best of circumstances. The political rule was like a dictatorship. Most people were struggling to get by financially. The folks who were waiting for Jesus expected nothing less than a Rambo-like warrior. So Jesus shows up in the midst of shaky times, deflating some expectations, and with barnyard animals and the stench of manure accompanying his teenage mom in labor. Not the best kind of set up for a promised Messiah.
But wait. It was time to celebrate!
Heaven rejoiced. Angels whooped and hollered, shouting out praises. The angel of the Lord appeared to unassuming shepherds and said, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10 NLT). Good news and great joy! Then a host of other angels came on the scene and joined the festivities shouting, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth” (Luke 2:14 NLT). It was a time of worship. Praise. Thanksgiving. Celebration.
So instead of feeling condemned, annoyed, or frustrated by overzealous retailers, mad shoppers, or Bah Humbug-ers, celebrate! Celebrate Christmas with a spirit of adoration and joy. Celebrate by stringing up twinkling lights on your front door. Celebrate by humming the tunes of Nat King Cole and “Silent Night.” Celebrate by giving to those in need.
If you need to, dial back your trips to the mall and spending habits. And, of course, keep your perspective in check. But don’t let the grumblings of commercialism keep you from celebrating the One who came to give you the greatest gift—eternal life.