‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matthew 6:21
Do you put your heart into Christmas? Do you buy presents for all your loved ones, friends, work mates and even those ‘acquaintances’ who will get offended if they don’t get a gift? Do you get a Christmas tree and decorate it nicely (hands up those who have a ‘colour scheme’!) What about Christmas grub?…Turkey is a given, right? And everyone loves a mince pie or slice of chocolate log. Plus lots of us will even put ourselves though the trial of eating a sprout for tradition-sake. That’s before we’ve even mentioned Christmas songs, work-dos, festive TV ads, Santa’s grottos, and the all-important Christmas jumper. Are we in fact going a bit ‘Christmas-crazy’?
Of course it can be magical…decorations and fairy lights brighten up our homes and streets. The jingle of a Christmas song on the radio can lift the spirits on a gloomy drive into work, and cards through the post can be a nice way of keeping in touch with those afar off.
But it’s stressful too! The cost of all the presents, decs, food, drink and outfits can be astronomical. The shopping centres filling up from mid-October with Christmas merchandise and feverish shoppers can be quite alarming, and after weeks of build up, the day can feel over too soon, leaving a rather melancholy feel in its wake.
So why do so many people buy into Christmas in such a huge way? Well, John Lewis have put their finger on it this year with their Christmas TV ad…whether you’re an Elton fan or not, you can’t help feeling a little teary at the sight of the small boy actor looking blown-away by his present. That’s what so many of us strive to cultivate isn’t it? We want a Christmas day that lights up the faces of our loved ones. We want to treat them, and share moments of job with them.
The thing is we can get so lost in the materialism of Christmas we forget what we’re striving for. Think about the birth of Jesus…he got gifts didn’t he? Gold, frankincense and myrrh. They were special gifts, chosen for him for a purpose and they have a place in the account of Jesus’s birth. But most of the account is about the family themselves: Mary’s visit from the angel, Joseph and Mary travelling to Bethlehem, Jesus born in a stable, angels telling the shepherds that the baby that has been born is the promised saviour…it’s all about a family. The most special family. Why do we think God sent a host of angels to the shepherds singing praise? After all, one angel had already informed the shepherds of the birth. Don’t you think God was overjoyed at His son’s birth and wanted to show it? He felt that joy that we want to feel when we celebrate Christmas. And for so many of us, Christmas is about family, and trying to show them we love them in order to create that shared joy.
When the shepherds had visited Jesus and went off to spread the news about him, we are told, ‘Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.’ Luke 2.19. She treasured this time, she thought about it. I’m sure she was not expecting a group of total strangers to come visit her child, but she treasured their reaction and acknowledgement of her son as special. Jesus was the son of God and the most special child ever born for this reason. But he was also Mary’s son, and special to her in that he was her child. Every parent will know that bond, and parent or not, we all know that affection towards another, and we want to treasure the moments we have with them. Christmas can be a great opportunity to do that, but it’s too easy to treasure the wrong things. Let’s not get so caught up in society’s pressure to buy-buy-buy that we forget the most important gifts…each other, and should you choose to believe it, God’ son, Jesus.
Maybe this Christmas when you take your moment to treasure the people in your life, whoever your ‘family’ is, be it biological or not, also take a moment to ponder that baby laid in a manger. For that baby wasn’t just Mary’s child…he is our saviour. That little family in the stable, was the beginning of a larger family we can all belong to.
Don’t just light up your Christmas day by being with loved ones, light up your life by acknowledging the one who loved you so much He sent his son to be your saviour.
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