“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Yes, it is wonderful, but where are we basing this wonder on? What makes us so merry? (Abrupt introductions, anyone?)
Joy and happiness are hugely discussed when it comes to Christmas. I mean, hello, we try to make ourselves as happy as possible with gifts for ourselves and others, food, by hanging out with family and loved ones, and making Christmas as magical as we possibly can.
What’s not to like?
Well, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, I honestly don’t. But with all this happiness that we try to attain, there is a high price. This price is us missing out on what Christmas is all about. *Cue ominous music*
I will be the first to tell you that gifts and presents are fabulously wonderful. Shredding wrapping paper to find new cool things in the name of a holiday celebration is wondrously great.
But have you ever noticed how unhappy we get after Christmas? All this work we’ve put into one day of the year – and it is OVER. DONE. Adios, Pablos. No more Christmas for you.
By looking past Jesus to the presents and food and people, we give up lasting, substantial happiness for a cheap knock-off, and we don’t even see it. We tell ourselves that Christmas is supposed to be all about happiness, but as we bend over to pick up the last scraps of tissue paper embedded in the carpet and take the ornaments off of the tree, we think, is this really it?
Maybe you’re not as dramatic as I am. But I do know this: We get so caught up in all the hoopla and huzzah of Christmas, that it can end up as a huge letdown on December 26th when it’s all over. So much for happiness.
See, friends, Christmas does not come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. – Thank you Dr. Seuss, for that lovely quote from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s very true.
You can’t buy enough happy to make Christmas a good one. Really, you can’t. When I was younger, Mom took me to the beach and gave me some shovels and let me dig. Dig and dig and dig I did.
Me: If I kept digging down far enough, where will I end up?
Mom: Probably in China.
Me: *digs for a while* Am I at China yet?
Mom: I don’t think quite yet. The world’s pretty big, you know.
Me: Do I see a light down there? Is it China?
Mom: Honey, I think you’re seeing a reflection of the sun. But keep on digging. You might actually get there.
Me: Okay. *amuses myself with digging for hours*
You can imagine how the rest of that went. Needless to say, I never did find China, but I learned an important lesson.
You can attempt to dig through an impossible situation, or you can find the existing way. If I really wanted to go to China, I should have taken a plane, not a shovel.
Now here is the hopefully-sane translation of my wacky little story.
Every Christmas, most of us dig around looking for happiness, myself included. If we just go to enough parties…just get enough presents…just spend enough time with others…just make enough yummy foods…just do this or that…THEN and ONLY THEN will we be actually, truly happy. The sad thing is, that year after year of doing this, and becoming discontent, we still tell ourselves that it’ll make us happy.
And so the cycle repeats. And we become insatiable. But this shouldn’t be so.
We say Christmas is a time for happiness, and we are absolutely right. We can be happy, just like we can go to China. But we get there a different way, instead.
If we want happiness, we have to accept the real meaning of Christmas. Why do we even celebrate it in the first place?
We celebrate Christmas because of the birth of the Messiah. Jesus. But not simply the fact that he was born, but because of what that signified. It signified that 1) the GOD of all things EVER came to us in human form because He LOVES us, 2) we are not forgotten and forsaken even though deep down, we do the wrong things CONSTANTLY, and 3) the satisfaction and happiness we all search for has been FULFILLED. He came to give us a new nature, to put off our sin and make us bright and shiny.
What do we all yearn for? Meaning in life. Happiness. Contentment. Or society has contradicted this by giving everyone a big case of Holiday Discontentment. However, we do not have to keep it this way.
By looking at the birth of Jesus for what it truly is, and not just something to put on the mantle, we can find that satisfaction. By accepting His amazing love and sacrifice for us, in that will we find happiness. If you want to read more about this (and why I refer to this lasting happiness as ‘joy’) then check out this post.
By seeing the significance of who Jesus is – God in flesh, who dwelt among us – we can really and truly be happy.
And now, a passage to close with.
“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Have a wonderful day, friends. Merry Christmas once again.