Monday, December 13, 2010

THE MESSAGE OF CHRISTMAS


“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans

Christmas day is near! For me this is a joyful journey to the 25th and a springboard for the next eleven months. It is a season of renewal and a reminder of how I am to live my life throughout the year.
Every year in Northwest Arkansas Walmart holds a stockholders’ meeting. Stockholders from all over the world come to our area to attend lavish pep assemblies, visit the corporate offices, and shop the supercenters, which are decked out with huge and colorful displays in the parking lots where vendors hand out free food and small keepsakes. Celebrities are flown in to entertain them each night. When the gala is over, the stockholders are again reminded of why they have invested in the company and their loyalty is reinvigorated.

To me, this season accomplishes the same thing. Many have a negative view of this holiday saying it is politically incorrect, that it excludes all who are not “Christian.”

That is incorrect.

Actually, if we look at the origins of Christmas we will find that the early Christians didn’t celebrate it. In fact, this holiday wasn’t instituted until 2 centuries after Christ left this earth. Another thing we will find is that Jesus was born during the fall of the year, not in winter.

There are more eye-opening things about the origins of Christmas that I won’t go into here, but it is worth taking the time to study. Why? Because it proves the origin of Christmas isn’t important, it is the message that is important! Over the next few weeks, I’d like to explore the messages of Christmas and dismantle the wrong messages. 

Today I want to encourage everyone, no matter who you are or what you believe, to join in this celebration of love, generosity, hospitality, hope, and family.

 If Jesus Christ came to Northwest Arkansas to celebrate Christmas with us, I don’t think he’d expect a birthday party complete with cake. Nor would he bring celebrities. From my years of learning of and from Him, I think he would prefer to sit with us and encourage us. He’d look us in the eyes and see our souls. Peace would fill us and our ears would open. Then he’d say, “Feed the hungry, give to the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, help the children, open your home, love your neighbors, and love God.”

His words would penetrate our hearts and we’d feel the stress, the unrealistic expectations, and loneliness fall away. Our minds would clear and we’d recognize what really matters—people.

The colorful side of Christmas, the music, parties, food, sappy movies (I love them), sparkly lights and shiny decorations, are the fun, celebratory part of the season. It’s at this assembly of celebration where we are reminded of the message of Christmas. But it isn’t to stop on the 25th. It is to be carried out through the year.

Feed the hungry, give to the poor, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, help the children, open your home, love your neighbors, and love God.

That is something we all can do, no matter who we are or what we believe.







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