Have Yourself an Old-Fashioned Little Christmas
- 2006 20 Dec
An old fashioned Christmas. Family. Friends. Love. What exactly does that mean anymore? Images come to mind of roasted chestnuts, hand-made quilts, sleigh bells, petticoats, and snow angels. "Those days are over," you might say. "That’s impossible now! Nobody does that." That’s probably true. Maybe you and your spouse won’t actually roast your own chestnuts this year, or hitch up a sleigh to a team of horses for an evening ride, but there are other ways of putting the emphasis in Christmas back where it belongs – on Jesus Christ.
Think back to an older time in history. Way back. Before Christmas meant presents, packages, and bows. Before office parties, spiked eggnog, and sales at the mall. Before plastic Santa Clauses took the place of Nativity scenes on our front lawns and holiday songs stopped celebrating the newborn Christ. Back to a manger in a tiny town called Bethlehem, where a single star guided the shepherds from the fields and where a young woman, obedient to the call of God, gave birth to a baby boy. Mary must have been terrified, yet God equipped her with everything she needed. "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
Mary didn’t have a Christmas gift for her firstborn son. She didn’t get a diamond ring from Joseph to commemorate the occasion. She didn’t run up her credit card at the mall to buy new holiday clothes. She simply wrapped Jesus in a blanket and tucked him close to her heart. Mary knew the real meaning of Christmas. She held it in her arms.
What would it be like to forget the commercialism of Christmas this year? For you and your spouse and your family to step away from the chaos and the bustling crowds and the stress and the debt and just take a deep breath? To fill your lungs and your hearts with the spirit of Christmas instead of filling your shopping bags with overpriced gifts?
Forgetting the commercialism this holiday season doesn’t mean you can’t exchange gifts or decorate your home. It’s fun to receive Christmas presents! But this year, focus on the giving, and on the smiles that light the faces of your spouse, friends and family instead of on the greed that comes from not getting what you wanted or requested. Don’t run up a huge debt just to "keep up with the Jones.’" Instead of trying to buy the best present or the most expensive one, concentrate on finding a gift that really expresses your feelings toward that person or would be extra meaningful to them. Don’t buy just for the sake of buying. Are you giving gifts because you want to receive one in return, or because you enjoy celebrating in the symbolism of the wise men bringing gifts to the Messiah? Because you want to share the joy of the season with those you love?
Decorating with Santa Claus and mistletoe and bells is enjoyable, and can make your home festive for your family, but try to keep your priorities straight. What is the motivation in your heart? What are you teaching your children about the holidays? Are you competing with your neighbor for the brightest, most decorated house? Or are you stringing lights across the roof as a tribute to the light burning in your soul for Jesus? Are you forgetting the reason for the season because you’re so distracted by candy canes, a new wreath, or garland? When you decorate your home this Christmas, take a moment to remember the simple, humble entrance Jesus made into this earth. He came quietly, without fanfare, into a cold stable.
In all you do this holiday season, do for the glory of God. Really think about what that means to you, individually, and then to you as a family. If you discover that you are more focused on the commercialism of Christmas, then take action steps to change! Don’t miss the service at your church because you want to go get peppermint hot chocolate from the local coffee shop. Don’t skip out on quality time with your children because you’re still searching for that one last, perfect gift. Don’t miss snuggling by the fireplace with your spouse, reading the Christmas story in the Bible because you’d rather be filling the stockings with candy and toys.
Christmas can be about family and friends, giving gifts, spending time with those you love, singing Christmas carols, sipping hot chocolate... It can be all of those things, as long as you keep the center of the season in your heart – Jesus Christ. Close your eyes and envision that starry sky. Hear His newborn cry. Smell the musty barnyard where Jesus made His debut. Feel the cold night air against your face.
An old fashioned Christmas. It might not be that impossible after all.
Betsy St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. They recently celebrated their two year wedding anniversary. Betsy has an associate's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. You can contact her at Betsystamant@yahoo.com.