We all know them, the ones who post “15 weeks until Christmas!!” It was 90 degrees today! Fall weather hasn’t even kicked in and I’m already being triggered by beautiful friends who just love Christmas! Don’t get me wrong, I do love Christmas, but I just don’t feel the feels yet as I figure out if dealing with dabbing rivulets of foundation make-up off my face is worth it today. Life is sweaty sometimes, especially in the South.
Christmas is exciting. The presents, the decorations, the big family dinners, the baking, the food, the traditions, did I mention the baking, and even the shopping and thinking of others brings a joy to me that seems to only happen around this time. So I see why it can bring an anxious excitement to a lot of people. So when I read “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens it was full of nostalgia. Scrooge got it at the end. Here and there the Ghost of Christmas Present sprinkled people with Christmas feelings of warmth, mirth, and joy. Scrooge stepped out of his comfort zone and saw how even those with nothing, still were able to enjoy life because they had family and friends, despite their impoverished circumstances. He saw in the end that material things mean nothing because we cannot enjoy them when we are dead. Friendship, fellowship, and philanthropy that is what mattered most in life. Oh, Mr. Dickens, you are close, but you got it so wrong.
I first noticed it when the movie “The Man Who Invented Christmas” came out last year. (I still have not seen it and I really want to.) The title shocked me. Not in a Victorian-I’m-going-to-faint-now-catch-me-please kind of way, but that it was so blatantly wrong. So adamantly misleading. Christmas has been around for over 2000 years, and man didn’t invent it. It was given. But reading “A Christmas Carol” I got what was trying to be convened by Mr. Dickens. He wanted Christmas without Christ. He wanted the sentiment without the Savior. He wanted the philanthropy without the Forgiver. And frankly, he got it. And Americans – because this is what we do – gobbled up this kind of Christmas in mouthfuls. Yes, I sprinkle Jesus and Bible reading among the towers of presents. I contemplate the birth of my Savior between Christmas parties. Yes, I give a little more around this time frankly because I feel bad because I spent so much on my kids. UGh! Christmas should not be this complicated. This stressful. This domineering. So what do I do with this?
We do not know when Jesus was born. I have heard most accounts of a time line of when He could have been born and all of them make good arguments, but simply, none of us are for sure. I think it is important to see that plainly the date wasn’t that big of a deal. If it was, with all the writings we have on everything else, we would know! I think this lack of information screams: Let’s not save our celebrating Jesus or Christianity for one day out of the year!
Be a gift-giver, host big meals, decorate your home, make traditions (especially ones revolving around Jesus), make time for family and friends, love on the needy, read the Bible aloud with your family, seek God, make amends, ask for forgiveness, easily forgive, call forgotten ones, encourage one another, do these things and more not when the “Christmas spirit” hits you, but because the Holy Spirits dwells in you.
I am still working out the thoughts and convictions I have been feeling about Christmas. Rest assured that I will be sharing my thoughts as I work them out. I will still celebrate Jesus birth and salvation. I will still decorate and make my home warm, I will still give gifts and attend and host parties, I will still bake and donate; but I just hope to continue to do these things throughout the year.
Dickens did steal Christmas. He was one of the firsts to write a Christmas story that excluded the mention of Jesus. But he, I believe inadvertently, also limited our Christianity. He captured the feelings we have during Christmas and bound it to a season. Maybe that is why we go nuts around Christmas time with all we do, because we are making up for what we have not done throughout the year? Even I become overly religious around this time, making sure we read Luke 2 before we DARE open any presents! God forgive me! It shouldn’t be a novelty to read Scripture to my gathered children. 😦 Am I making up for what I should be doing daily? I think I am.
My challenge to myself and to you my dear Christian is to not save our Christianity to a Christmas season. Even to those who haven’t fallen into the American-Christmas trap and do center their celebration to revolve around Jesus specifically, let us not just make Him center for a season. Let us not celebrate His birth and salvation for a slot of two weeks in the winter.
GOD became incarnate and died for the sins of His church! He came to earth! – a feeble little rock in the great expanse of space and taught us how to love Him and others. He has saved His people! And because He so magnificently gave and forgave, we do also. This beautiful truth should be celebrated all year long!
I will end with a passage from Luke 2! 😉
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.
Regarding the book because this was supposed to be a book review. It is a very well written book. Dickens is a master at capturing and developing deep, meaningful characters. I also love the last names he gives his characters. I recommend this book to anyone wanting a quick and motivational read. The book is about 100 pages, so it isn’t very long. It will forever be a classic.