It’s around about this time of year that I start to feel rather bah humbug about things… It’s usually when I haven’t bought all the presents I need to, haven’t ordered the turkey or thought about Christmas cards, I start to panic and then get a bit stressed.
And the thing I focus on in that stress is: ‘WHY AM I DOING THIS?’. Which is a bit crazy really, especially for someone who happens to work for the church, where Christmas is, well kind of a big deal.
And I guess it isn’t really all that planning or even the money I object to (well maybe a little bit) but the heart of it all. Christmas is about Jesus! A message of love. A message of hope. A message of joy. For me perhaps the most important thing about Christmas is reflecting some of what Jesus came to give us, spending time with the people I love and sharing some of that love with each other.
Years ago I wrote a song about God’s ‘gift from heaven’ having been inspired by a Christmas sermon. These are some words from it:
You are the Saviour, You are the son
Sent to earth to save us, by God above.
Imagine his hurt and pain when every door was closed,
The Father sent his only son,
The gift for us he chose…
You are our gift from heaven,
Sent to save us all.
A gift from Heaven,
Jesus Lord of all…
It goes on, but that is the sentiment that gets me riled, that God’s gift, the ultimate gift, His Son, is so often forgotten in the consumerism of Christmas. A gift that was full of love, given at great expense, but given also to us in our need. That’s what I want my Christmas gifts to reflect, not the 5 mins I’ve actually spent online choosing something almost at random (ignore that if you receive a gift from me…).
Now, my husband laughs at me and says ‘but we are blessing people’ in giving gifts. Which yes, we are, and that sentiment I love, but giving someone an Amazon voucher or a pot plant does not in my book constitute blessing someone, it means conforming to a standard – a worldly standard that is based on expectations. A blessing would be really doing something thoughtful, actually spending time thinking about what would be a really nice gift for that person, or doing something for them rather than buying tat, even if it is expensive tat.
I’ve now had this Christmas present ‘rant’ every year for the past 10 or so years. I make comments to my husband that we should buy everyone an Oxfam cow or twin a toilet for them, or do something different but, well here we are again and I’m saying the same old things, but I really want to encourage you to take some time out from the pre-Christmas planning, present buying and ordering, and just think about the ultimate gift that God gave us some 2000 years ago. How might that influence your present buying, your Christmas Day or those that you love?