Archive for December 12th, 2009

12 Days Before Christmas; A Journey to the Celebration.

Posted on December 12, 2009. Filed under: Faith, Family, Glory, Personal Happiness, Salvation | Tags: , , , , |

It’s December 14th in our house, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse.  No, wait a minute, that is another story.  But what really just happened is this; an older couple rang my door bell and as I opened the front door, the lady, carrying a wonderfully scrumptious looking batch of fudge, proceeded to walk into our home.  As she observed me in my pajama bottoms, which I call my “decompressor clothes”, because I wear them when I need to “decompress” from my day, she began to look a little bewildered.  She ask the question, “am I in the right house”?  Naturally, I replied in the only manner I could as I gazed at her fudge, “of course you are, you have the fudge, come on in.”  Then, the actuality of the situation overtook her, as she realized that this was not the house she should be standing in at this very moment.  She was a little embarrassed, for which I did what comes easy to me and made her feel comfortable by telling her about an occurrence of a similar situation that had happened to me some 15 years ago.  Then I explained to the nice couple where the house was that they should be going to, and we said Merry Christmas to each other, as they wandered off down the walkway.  It is 12 days before Christmas; and I want to take you on a journey to the celebration.

Your question might be at this time, what are we going to celebrate?  That is a good question, because at this time of year people celebrate, what we call “The Holidays”, in many different ways.  People of the Christian faith celebrate Christmas, Jewish people celebrate the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem with Hanukkah or (The Festival of Lights), Muslims celebrate Muharram, and many African-Americans celebrate Kwanzaa.  There is another holiday that most people probably do not think about, for it is not in December, but the first Sunday of August each year; it is called “Friendship Day”, and it is a day set aside to commemorate what true unconditional friendship is.  I wish we could celebrate “Friendship Day” every week, then maybe people would be a little kinder to each other.  But we don’t and that is okay, for today it is only 12 days before Christmas, and I want to take you on a journey to the celebration.

But, how does everyone celebrate Christmas, and what does it signify for most people?  That is the question of the day, since it seems that we, as a society, have distanced ourselves from what the original meaning or reason for Christmas was.  At its inception, Christmas was a holiday designated by the Catholic Church, sometime in the 4th century AD coinciding with their winter festival, to remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  Although the Bible does not say exactly what day Jesus was born, the Catholic Church arbitrarily picked December 25th as the day for the holiday, and we have been using that day ever since.  The first Christmas cards, as we know them, were sent in England in 1843, then began to be used in the United States in 1846.  This may have marked the beginning of what I will call the commercialism of Christmas we see today as people celebrate this religious holiday.

But originally, we were suppose to be celebrating the birth of Jesus, who came to this earth some 2000 years ago, as a child conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary (Matthew 1:18-25).  Somewhere along the line the meaning changed, as people began to become more concerned with the money they could make from this holiday, greed, getting presents, giving presents, Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, family, etc.  Now I enjoy all of the special features about Christmas time mentioned above, except for the greed and the focus on the making of money part, but we should not neglect the authentic message of Christmas; that Christ came to earth as a servant and sacrifice for all of us to be able to have a path to eternal victory and a home with the Father God in heaven.  For me it is 12 days before Christmas, and I desire nothing more than to share the next 12 days with you on a journey to the celebration.

If there was a way that we could eliminate all of the commercialism that this holiday represents, focusing instead on and contemplating how this day symbolizes redemption from our unrighteousness and into a life dedicated to giving glory to the creator of the universe, how much more momentous might this holiday be for all of us as we gather with family and friends for this celebration? We get ourselves into debt from the buying of presents for everyone we know, many times purchasing items that are unnecessary and could even be considered ridiculous, in order that we can say we gave something to them and they can say that they were privileged to receive presents.  Is all this really necessary?  I don’t think so, since our participation in this commercialism puts so many of us into debt and a poor financial position; creating a future that is challenging, stressful, and unworthy of giving glory to God.

How much money is spent on Christmas each year? Well, I read one estimate at $450 billion; that’s BILLION with a “B”. I hate to throw that number around, but think about it for a minute, even in the United States, if the 105 million households only spend an average of $1500 for Christmas, that is $157.5 billion.  What if we only spent half of that on Christmas gifts, we would have an additional $78.75 billion to use elsewhere, like feeding the poor, providing drinkable water facilities in poor countries around the world, etc.  If we did that, we would still have money left over for a rainy day, and maybe we would not have to put our purchases on a credit card at 22.9% interest.  I suggest we should do it, slow down on our buying, give more money to the poor, and have some money remaining in our savings accounts.  How cool would that be?

All right, now that we know that we are spending too much money on gifts for people that do not need anything in the first place, let us focus on what we really should be celebrating here.  Yes, that is correct, we should focus on God, for isn’t this a religious holiday anyway?  Stay tuned tomorrow as we explore the road on the journey to the celebration, the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, savior and light to the world.  Don’t go to the mall now, instead, read the Bible, spend some time with your family, or take a walk, all of these will help you save money.

May your journey in life be blessed,

Daryl Dho

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