As soon as the football games are back to their normal three days a week, rather than twenty five in one day, our thoughts turn to Christmas. It’s been one of my enjoyments to watch the old holiday movies during this interim leading up to Christmas – movies like It’s a Wonderful Life – White Christmas – A Christmas Story. For the past couple years, I have a hard time finding them on the tube. Of course I don’t have Netflix or Hulu. I’m one of those old fashioned hold-outs who still pinches her pennies.
Folks have made it a tradition to go shopping on Black Friday – some maybe even before they’ve digested their Thanksgiving dinner. Some prefer to do their shopping on the internet, which I’m opting for this year. I’m tired of fighting the elements and crowds of crazy people. Besides, I’m old!
I wonder how we’ll shop in 25 years or how we’ll prepare for the coming Christmas holiday. I remember going downtown to shop. This was well before shopping mega malls and computers. We’d press our noses against cold windows to get a closer look at the animated figures on the other side. These scenes would often include carolers standing by a lamp post; children building a snowman; Santa and his elves; a family decorating a tree; a nativity scene. There was always a Santa parade and it most always was below freezing.
At home, our Christmas tree was often purchased a couple days before the actual holiday, so we could get the best deal. We also wound up with the scruffiest looking tree which looked pretty good with a ton of tinsel and lights. We baked cookies and decorated them with lots of colored sugar. Presents would not go under the tree until Christmas eve. We’d attend church and hear the story of Jesus’ birth and be presented with a bag of hard candy, shelled peanuts and a huge orange and apple.
The way we celebrate this holiday changes over time, but the core message of Christmas never changes. We struggle through this time of busyness and sometimes chaos, as some become depressed because families are now so spread apart. Anxiety reaches the boiling point when we can’t afford to buy gifts or airline tickets. We become frustrated, impatient and often exhausted. We may lose our job, marriages fall apart, a serious health diagnosis is received or we lose someone to death. This is a time of extreme sadness for many.
God provides peace – a lasting peace that lay in a feeding trough that first Christmas Eve. Jesus was born a human being, but also the Son of God. He came to earth to live among us and experience our sadness, anger, depression and every other human emotion. Yet He was sinless. He would be the perfect sacrifice to take away the sins of everyone.
This is a truth that’s slowly being forgotten. People have replaced God with material things. They look for pleasure and satisfaction within themselves. They think they don’t need help from anyone. Maybe it’s time to go back to the old ways. God has never left us, we’ve lost track of Him.