Friday, December 25, 2015

Perhaps Christmas means a little bit more......

Merry Christmas

The Meaning of Christmas has Changed For Me

As I sit here in the quiet silence on this Christmas Eve I reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas and the miraculous events that have unfolded in our lives over this past year.   During this season most people are frantically shopping for gifts, fighting the crowds, buying gifts without a thought in the world as to the reason why we celebrate Christmas.  The true meaning and gift of the season can get lost amongst the hustle and bustle of spending far more money than we should on things we don´t really need. 

We rush around in a stress filled frenzy, spending ourselves into debt trying to purchase a nauseating amount of gifts for everyone we know including the kids school teachers.  Yet, through it all, as we speak of peace, joy, glad tidings of this season...... the meaning of it all is put on the back burner so we can buy the latest Xbox or i-Thing.   Santa takes front and center stage in every aspect of our celebration, the kids excited to sit on his lap and rattle off a laundry list of things they want him to bring them on Christmas morning.

As I sit here, in the silence, I ponder upon that little baby, born in the most humble of circumstances, the very reason we celebrate CHRIST-mas.  We celebrate Christmas because we were given the greatest gift of such infinite worth no mortal words could describe its depth and meaning to all mankind.  It is not a gift that will break, wear out, or get lost, but a gift that was given out of the greatest love the world has ever known and required the greatest sacrifice.

Our Savior agreed to come into this world, to give His life, to right every wrong, to lift the hands that hang down, to ease or burdens and remove our sorrows and greatest of all to save us from a sin filled life to be lifted up at the last day and exalted on high.   If we reflect upon His life and His example what do you think He would want us to do in celebration of Him, His birth, His life, and the supernal gift He gave?   

If we were truly seeking to celebrate His life, would we be sitting on santa´s lap rattling off all the needless things we want, would we be running around buying gifts for those who already have more than they need?

If we Remember Christ, we Remember the ¨Least of These¨

Santa does not visit these children 

There are millions of children around the world who do not have enough food to eat, children dying of starvation while we stuff ourselves with a Thanksgiving Feast and Christmas Day dinner.   There are children living in orphanages who have never known the love of a mother and the joy of a family.  There are families living in homes on dirt floors without electricity, indoor plumbing or even clean water to drink.  There are families in our midst who secretly suffer without being able to provide a coat, shoes without holes, or enough food to fill little tummies....and yet....Santa never comes to the poor.  Is this really what Christ would want the celebration of His birth to be?

Are We Caring for the Fatherless?
Santa does not visit these children either....

  We close our eyes and put these images out of our minds because they are uncomfortable to think about.  We don´t have to face them, we do not have to look the starving child in the eyes, we do not have to see the anguished faces of parents struggling to provide for their children......and so we continue to think of the latest electronic gadget that we want to buy for ourselves, our family, or our children.  We sit down to eat a Christmas feast, all while professing our gratitude for our Savior and yet.....instead of being like He, we sit in our homes warm from the heater, clean water, indoor plumbing, all the conveniences of life, surrounded by wealth and give no thought to ´the least of these.´

I must confess I have been just as guilty of this as the next person, but slowly my eyes have been opened and I have seen that we need to do so much more.  We profess to believe in Christ, we profess to be followers of Christ and yet on the very day we profess to celebrate His birth we do not even follow His example to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and afflicted and give to those in need.

You Will Not Find Santa Here Either....
We are to be the hands of Christ in Service to those who suffer

Being in the midst of this adoption process, seeing so many faces of children who have been abandoned on the streets at 2 days old, 2 weeks old, a few months or even a few years old.  Living in orphanages around the world it has given me time to reflect, time to really ponder on what really matters and what simply does not.

When all is said and done it will not matter that I had the latest iPhone or iThing, it will not matter how expensive the gifts under the tree were...... How can I live in so much abundance compared to millions of people around the world and turn a blind eye.  In the comfort of my own home it is easy to simply forget, but as I have gazed into the eyes of so many orphans, it has been burned upon my heart.  

As the Grinch said, ¨Perhaps Christmas means a little bit more¨  or may I add to this powerful statement... ¨Perhaps Christmas means a whole lot more!¨  It is so much more than Santa, a man who spoils already spoiled children with gifts they simply don´t need while poor children remain without food on the table on Christmas day!  It is more than packages, boxes, bows and bags......

The celebration of Christs birth should be a time spent in the service of others.  It should be a time where children go with their families to serve at a soup kitchen, to take survival kits with snacks, water and toiletry items to the homeless, a time to take a Thanksgiving feast to a poverty stricken family, to give a $200 grocery card to a family in need of food......This is the TRUE spirit of Christmas.  

As I reflect upon what Christmas means to me,  I have set a goal for myself to take a step back and find ways that I can contribute and help those in need.  To think less of myself and more of those around me or even those half way around the world who are in need of help.  If there is something I can do, I will do it.   Santa has not been a part of our Christmas celebration since our children were very young, but more than just moving Santa to the back burner where he belongs, I need to commit to do more.

It isn´t merely about remembering Christ, focusing on His life and letting Santa fall by the way is about ever so much more.  I feel convicted to make Christmas celebration focused upon giving gifts to the Savior, doing what He would have me do and in my heart I know that if He were here today, He would be spending his time with the poor, the needy, the homeless, the fatherless, the widows.....and therefore, so should I.

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