By Joe Torosian
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”—Matthew 6:5
Are you stressing about Christmas?
Are you already feeling the pressures of family, finances, and the fixing of all things holiday coming over you like a sort of PTSD?
Are you dreading the annual battle, on so many fronts, of “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas”…?
Is there a sinking feeling building inside you about the start of Christmas music, and endless loops of bad ballads and covers by George Michael and Mariah Carey?
Is a frantic hurricane of calendar scheduling starting to build offshore in your mind about what December is going to look like with family parties, church parties, office parties, spouse’s office party, school concert, church cantatas, and nativity setups and tear downs?
Don’t be stupid.
I love Christmas, but I came to love Christmas so much more when I stopped worrying about stupid things. And I’ll say this; if you’re involved at church, fantastic, but a lot of the Christmas stuff is stupid.
Decorate, but do you really need another Christmas concert?
Have a party/dinner/gathering, but do you really need another photo-op event with your kids in pillowcases and bathrobes pretending to be shepherds?
Of course not!
Stop stressing and stop worrying. Grow up!
Starting thinking about what you’re going to do this Christmas and not what Christmas is going to do to you.
And don’t go cheap either, and say that you are against all the commercialism and avarice of the holiday season…and then use that as an excuse not to buy someone a gift.
The whole “Christmas is just too commercialized” thing is played.
How played? Imagine somebody calling you and saying, “Whazzz uuuuppp!” ala the old Bud Light commercial? You’d look at your phone and shake your head. And that is precisely what someone sounds like when they are efforting for deep introspection when they make the observation that Christmas is just too commercialized.
Well, hello, Captain Obvious! It’s been commercialized since Ebenezer Scrooge issued his first complaint to his nephew Fred back in the 1830s.
Don’t let these people, these things, or organized denominational distraction, take away from you the celebration of the most monumental event in history.
Of course, I love the Resurrection…but to me the Ressurection, and the birth of Christ are the same event. The Creator of all things came down and humbled himself for our sake. Hallelujah!
So you should do things to celebrate that. You should give gifts in remembrance of the greatest gift of all time. You should spend time with people. You should laugh until tears come. And when tears come, you should laugh with the joyful knowledge that the Creator of all things knows your name. Hallelujah!
But should you be involved in every stupid thing–which is man honoring man–that pops up on the calendar? No. When you do that, all you’re really doing is emulating those who come to church, give a tithe, and never sense any moving of the Holy Spirit.
So church…do your people a favor…cancel 90% of what you have planned. One banquet, one dinner, one Sunday with Christmas stuff…decorating is optional… But don’t attempt to upstage the most significant event in history with a pseudo holiness that just mouths the lines from Luke 2 while offering little to nothing new.
Instead, let’s look at Christmas as an opportunity to show God’s love. It’s such a wide-open door that our secular society has unwittingly allotted us. (Unfortunately, the present-day church is too embarrassed to acknowledge the supernatural of a virgin birth, angelic pronouncements, and the heavenly host appearing in the sky. So it doesn’t take the open door and allows the event to be reduced to caricatures of Santa and socially acceptable, but benign, scale-downs of peace on earth and goodwill towards man.)
Don’t make a so-so gift, go out and buy something beautiful for your neighbor or your loved one. Get them something that is more than just a token remembrance, but a statement that you love them with the love of the Lord.
When you read Luke 2…Read Revelation 12, and about the cosmic spiritual battle that took place at the time Christ was being delivered in Bethlehem. And how that cosmic spiritual battle was won by our God…and that the heavenly host wasn’t just announcing but celebrating the most significant event in history.
“Hark, now hear the angels sing
A new King born today
And man will live forever more
Because of Christmas day”—Mary’s Boy Child
The event that would restore our relationship with our creator. God’s offensive to bring back all the nations… Hallelujah!
Don’t let man, don’t let the schedule, don’t let bad Christmas music—that may or may not start too early—or sighs about Christmas being too commercialized seize you with fear and consternation.
Because this is the victory of the ages…and it is ours!
Joe T. is the author of “Tangent Dreams: A High School Football Novel” … “Temple City & The Company of The Ages” … “The Dead Bug Tales” … “The Dark Norm” & “FaithViews for Storm Riders”…all available through Amazon.com.