Every year, my Christmas begins on Dec 1 when I switch the worshipful Christian music I listen to in the mornings to worshipful Christmas songs! It puts me in the mood of Christmas, to celebrate the season in the spirit of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men and women.
Not that I don’t practise peace on Earth and goodwill to all men and women in the preceding 11 months of the year. Of course, I do. The Christmas message of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men and women is for all time and all year round.
But, December is when I celebrate not just the message but the One who made it happen. When I celebrate Christmas I celebrate the reality of Jesus Christ in my life. I celebrate the life I now live because of the peace and goodwill I enjoy as I journey in faith in the One who entered human reality as a baby boy born of a virgin.
If He had not come and spread His message of peace around, there would be no Christmas. There would be no reason to celebrate the good news that is meant for all. There would be no reason to enjoy where I am at today if not for Him!
So, like millions all around the world I celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with a special joy and a special excitement. A joy and excitement to pass around. I spring clean my house, change the covers and curtains, bake some Christmas goodies, put on the Christmas decor and welcome people to share in the joy over a meal.
These days the cooking and the decor are kept at a minimum because I want to take the frenzy and rush out of the commercial whirlwind that is often associated with Christmas!
I take it slow, savouring the music, the time I spend with family and friends, the shopping of gifts for my little relatives, the Christmas concert, the Christmas parties. Every week from the first week of December, I schedule time out with family and friends. We will meet at some place with a pleasant Christmas decor or at home and chat. The company is always good and because it is Christmas, everything somehow is just Christmassy!
For me, that’s Christmas!
Even the Dec 8 demonstration of chest thumping in Kuala Lumpur couldn’t dampen my spirit! Somehow, I felt that there would be no violence and I thank God, there wasn’t, although I still don’t know the reason for the rally, except for chest thumping!
And, yesterday, there was that shooting into a Christmas crowd in Strasburg, France, killing three. That must be painful for the families involved and those celebrating Christmas there.
We don’t diminish the pain. That’s what the spirit of Christmas is all about. Life is tough but Christmas helps us through it. The songs, the decor, the festivities take our minds off the harsh realities of life for a while, so that we can take a breath. In that breath, we are reminded of the reason we celebrate Christmas, the birth of the One who came to help us through the trying times.
Christmas does not promise us tinsel and decor and everything nice. Those are trappings, a momentary catching of the breath. What Christmas promises is this verse I recently discovered: “Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight. Your statutes are always righteous; give me understanding that I may live.” (Psalm 119: 143-144)
That’s something to look forward to through Christmas and beyond: Understanding of God’s promises so that we can live.