It’s that time of year again. It started the weekend before Thanksgiving with the request from my wife to bring down the “Christmas stuff” from the attic. I dutifully complied, but not before I enlisted the help of my grown son along with our two little guys. It is not a one-man job.
I was kind of impressed that the tote count was down just below twenty. Let me define “tote” in case you’re wondering: large plastic storage containers. Yes, large. And yes, around twenty. I know it was over twenty a year ago, so we must be packing them tighter.
And then, of course, we brought down the trees. One for the living room, one for our bedroom, one for each of the boys’ bedrooms, and about six smaller ones—a couple for the porch and the others go here and there. I also got the custom-made stocking hanger installed. We used to have the cool little metal stocking hangers that looked like a Christmas tree, or an elf, or reindeer. But after a couple of near NFL-type of concussions from them falling off the mantle, it was time to go play in the shop and create a new solution.
What’s the end result of all this? Our house looks like it should be in a Christmas edition of Better Homes and Gardens. It is beautiful, and we love it. But, the thing we really cherish and love about Christmas is knowing the where and why of it.
Our culture today works very hard to dream up another name for Christmas. They call it the Winter Holiday. “Xmas” cards—where they “X” out Christ from Christmas—say, “Best Wishes and Season’s Greetings.” But, face it. It’s really hard to take Christ out of Christmas. And the truth is, if you want to do that, it’s your choice. And the real truth is, it’s your choice because God gave us the ability to choose.
Supposedly some folks were making a big deal out of a retail coffee chain this year that had special red Christmas—I mean Winter Holiday—mugs. Red is a color associated with Christmas, but they didn’t say Christmas! Who cares? It’s not about retail stores, or politics, or what someone else thinks. It only matters what you think for yourself.
For me and my family, Christmas and all it stands for comes from a God who loves each of us so much He sent his only Son to this earth who later gave up His life for us so we could have a personal relationship with His Father and know a peace that transcends any struggle we may experience. This is a joy unknown to those who believe it can be found in others or themselves. This joy and peace comes from God in love that is selfless, unearned, and undeserved.
For us, Christmas is defined in the joy of giving to others, as God has given us his Son. We celebrate Christmas for what it is: the birth of Christ, the greatest gift of love that has been or will ever be given. My hope for you this Christmas season is that you will personally experience God’s gifts of peace, joy, and love.