“Christmas is not just a day, an event to be observed and speedily forgotten. It is a spirit which should permeate every part of our lives.” ~ William Parks …
I wish you all peace and joy, best of love, a rich and full and fruitful life filled with abundant blessings. Most importantly, I pray you all the ability and the willingness to see those blessings, recognize them, and truly appreciate them while you are still able to.
It’s Christmas jollification time!
Christmas is not just a day… it is a season… and it is the spirit that we bring to the season–not what the day happens to bring to us–that determines our Christmas experience. And although for some there is peace and joy, especially for that one day, for many individuals, the full spirit of the season is rarely experienced in its entirety. For many, the Christmas season is speckled with many small inconveniences, and perhaps even seen as an inconvenience altogether. The financial and time constraints can begin to feel burdensome, and the calendar days can seem to quickly ill up with to-do’s. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of juggling that generally goes on between the putting up of decorations and the tree, to what often seems like endless shopping and hectic traffic.
Fortunately, one of the most prominent messages of Christmas is peace, joy, and love–the exact opposite of feeling inconvenienced. In fact, this season presents to us one of the best models for peace, joy, love, and humility we could ever ask for–Mary and Joseph. Mary was just a young woman who had her whole life ahead of her, and one can only imagine the emotions she felt when the angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her she would be with child and give birth to the saviour of all mankind. And Joseph, who being espoused to her, was perhaps overwhelmed with her pregnancy; who was planning on divorcing her silently until an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and told him not to be afraid. Or the inconvenience they both faced having to travel roughly 65 miles on a donkey while pregnant, for the census, only to discover that there is no place to stay when they arrived in Bethlehem during the latter hours of the night. Yes, both Mary and Joseph where inconvenienced, yet they found hope, love, joy, and peace as they gazed upon the newborn Christ, a hope, love, joy, and peace that we, too, can experience as we gaze upon Christ and reflect upon the season.
Search for that spirit of Christmas today and throughout the year. Unlike the Valentine’s Day or the Fourth of July in USA or the First of October in Nigeria, the spirit of Christmas transcends a single day; it is much more than an idea or an event. And if we look beyond the the celebration with family, and beyond the giving and receiving of gifts–allowing the spirit of Christmas to permeate every part of our lives–then it truly might transform us in beautiful and marvelous ways.
As you celebrate this Christmas season, let it be a time for reflection of the heart–a mirror in which you see what you are giving to the world, and your appreciation and gratitude for what it gives back. And as the day moves on, choose wisely what your focus will be on–the gifts and the happenings… or the spirit of the season, the holiness of the holiday.
Today, gaze upon the face of the child Jesus in the nativity scene and reflect upon the feelings in your heart.
Questions to consider:
What does the spirit of Christmas mean to you? Where can you most easily find it?
Do you ever feel inconvenienced during the Christmas season? How might you dispel such feelings?
What parts of your life do you allow Christmas to permeate? How would it feel if you were to allow it to truly, madly, and deeply permeate your life?
For further thought:
“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind.” ~ Mary Ellen Chase