Friday, December 19, 2008

Chistmas Joy or Christmas "Oy"?

Mommy and Daddy went out this afternoon to post this year’s batch of Christmas cards, and I think I have finally gotten the taste of envelope adhesive out of my mouth. (Yuck!) I don’t know which is worse, the bitter taste of the glue itself, or the sweet taste of whatever they put in the glue to make it taste better! Nasty stuff. Anyway, with the Christmas cards done and only one person left to buy a present for, there’s only the many, many batches of cookies left to bake and the last-minute cleaning to try to get done before it’s the last minute. : ) So, while I wait for a pan of fudge to cool, I am going to take a break to finally write the post that’s been running around my thoughts all day.

Every year when we put up our Christmas tree, I look forward to opening my box of ornaments and pulling out the familiar collection of sparkly odds and ends to put on the tree. There are the very odd ornaments, (such as a “genuine leather” tag that we hung on the tree last year because it seemed funny at the time) and get thrown out after a year or two of staying in my box during Christmas. Then there are the pretty ones, like the beautiful glass nativity scene which my Grandma gave me last year. And then there are the “Sunday school” ornaments, only put on the tree because they have been there for so long, (such as the juice can lid with my picture on it that I made when I was four.) The ornament that I most fondly look for every year belongs to this category. It is a star, made of popsicle sticks, with pipe cleaners glued on in the shape of letters. The letters used to spell “Joy”, but somewhere along the line, the J fell off, and now the poor thing says only “oy”.

Sadly, that is what happens to many people at Christmastime. Christmas is indeed a time of great joy, but all too often in the midst of the stress and busyness of the holiday we forget to be joyful. The week of Christmas is usually “crunch time” for many people who, like my family, tend to put everything off until then. Thus, stores are crowded, lines are long, time runs short, and from many hearts the exhausted cry goes out: “oy!” where once a song of joy was heard. Grumbling rises up to take the place of “Merry Christmas!” on one’s lips, and, while joy is often quite contagious, a bad mood is doubly so.

So how may one avoid the dreadful Christmas “oy”? It is very simple. Take the time to remember why we celebrate. Despite what every “holiday special” on T.V. would try to tell you, Christmas is not about presents or dreams or loved ones or (gasp!) even cookies. : ) Nor is it solely about peace, joy, hope, or love. As wonderful as those things are, Christmas is not about food, friendship, or feelings, it is about a Person.

Christmas is about Jesus. Without Him, there would be no Christmas to celebrate. It is Jesus who is the source of everything lovely that accompanies Christmas. He is the only one who can truly give peace, joy, and hope, and in Him is found the highest and truest love –the love that caused Christ to lay down the glory and splendor of Heaven to be born, a helpless baby, to a poor family. He left the sinless perfection of heaven to live sinlessly among sinful humans so that He could give His life for us, taking all our sin upon Himself and dying on the cross. The precious little baby in the manger causes us to remember the reason He was born – to lay down His life for us, paying the penalty for our sin that we might be reconciled with God.

Christmas, indeed is the season which celebrates the greatest joy of all – the joy of salvation!


Garden of Glory said...

This touched me deeply, Gwennie. I know that this snow is a good thing (we should have a foot by the end of the day, by the way), because I cannot go anywhere at all! It is easier to focus on Christ, not errands :D

Gwennie H. said...

It's always encouraging to be able to see a purpose behind such things. I do hope the snow will be gone by Christmas, though.