By Marlene Tavares
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
(2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV)
As families excitedly prepare for the holidays and malls are buzzing with busy shoppers trying to find the perfect gifts for loved ones, it can become easy to forget what the real focus of Christmas should be – celebrating the birth of our Saviour – and I admit I am no exception to this. I absolutely love Christmas, it really is my favourite time of year. Once December 1st hits, however, I begin to feel overwhelmed and even a little bit stressed out when I think of everything that needs to be done – from the shopping to the cooking and hosting the perfect holiday gathering for my family.
Of course we want to make the holiday season special and even perfect for the people we love. We want to take time to put thought into the gifts we buy, put up the prettiest decorations we can buy, and make meals with extra love so everyone can be happy and enjoy. More than anything, however, we need to take a minute to remember that as long as we are surrounded by loved ones and enjoying the company of family, everything else is just a bonus. If we took away all the presents and decorations and if we were only left with our families at Christmastime, could you still fully enjoy it?
We have heard it said many times that gifts shouldn’t matter or that Christmas is now “over commercialized”. While this is true, there is nothing wrong with giving gifts. After all, it is Jesus’ birthday we are celebrating and as Christians, we are encouraged to be giving and generous. But we should not let the money we spend, the time we put into decorating, or the stress we impose on ourselves for the perfect holiday season undermine the true cause of our celebration. We also need to take time as Christians to look around us and be mindful of the fact that our generosity should extend past our family and friends and should include those less fortunate who really need even the basics for daily living. Volunteering at a shelter, buying a meal for a homeless person, or making a donation to a charity – this type of giving is the kind of giving Christmas should be all about and the kind of giving that Jesus would approve of.
So relax, do your best as you prepare for the holidays and don’t sweat the little details. Just be thankful for food to eat and a family to enjoy it with and if you can take a minute to help someone in need, then you already have the perfect Christmas.
Wishing you all and your families a Merry Christmas and all God’s blessings for a prosperous New Year!