As the sun is setting on this eve of Christmas and we have finished our running and shopping to settle in at home with loved ones, we begin to reflect on our own traditions and the reason for the season. Many celebrate the namesake of Christmas Christ and envision the Christ child born as savior to the world. They picture His mother Mary, earthly father Joseph and the wise men coming to behold Him. It is said wise men still seek Him 2000 years later.
The full picture we have there in what is often called the Nativity Scene is family and friends gathered together. Time with our family and friends and reflecting on the blessings we have in our lives is very important. I was recently in London and went to a Christmas Performance. I remember the Gospel Music Leader saying that we should not focus on the recession or the fact we could not go out and buy our families lavish gifts and prepare big meals. He said we must remember to reflect on the love we have within our family and what we actually have now.
So often we chase after more, bigger and better; flash and glitter. This all will pass away. It is temporary. Next season it is old and out of date. We need to focus on those loved ones that have been placed in our lives. They are there for a reason and they never go out of date.
I could not tell you the different presents I got each year for Christmas (though I do remember my parents loved us and spoiled us, we did not want for anything). The thing that stood out to me then and now was that we were always together as a family for Christmas. We would watch Godzilla Movies and tell jokes and laugh. We always had a good time just being together. It was not about the presents (whether someone brought one or not) it was about the presence of that person at the family gathering.
We cannot pick our family and trust me I know there are no perfect families. What I do know is it is up to us how we treat and interact with our family members. I encourage you to pick up the phone and reach out to your loved ones (especially the ones who do not live in the same city as you). Make your presence (either physically or over the phone) your present to those you hold most dear.
Please also keep our military service members, your local police departments and the victims of the natural disasters and losses that have occurred this year in your thoughts and prayers this holiday season. When you say your Grace over your Christmas meal take a moment to say a word for them.
I also promised I would provide some names of organizations providing relief efforts to the affected region for those of you who wanted to aid the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Here is what I have so far:
World Vision international
World Food Programme
Save the Children
Have a Merry Christmas.
Keep warm and stay safe.