Neta Monroe: Where do we find Christmas joy?
The Christmas season is a time filled with excitement, anticipation of gifts for little ones, and some of us bigger ones.
But the season brings different feelings for some.
Feelings of desperation, wondering how they will afford those gifts for the little ones, feelings of guilt, feelings of anxiety. You see, Christmas is not always a joyful time for everyone.
You say how can this be? This is the time we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Yes, this is the time we have set aside for celebrating the Lord Jesusí birth, but we have also added to this time Santa Claus and the giving of gifts. We have created great expectations in children for what Santa will bring them, but at the same time for some, we have created a time of extreme stress.
A time where those who canít afford gifts for their children feel inadequate, feel like they are letting their children down because they can not afford all of those gifts.
Now, before you go getting all puffed up, thinking I am trying to put a damper on Santa Claus, let me say that is not what this Christmas story is about. I like gifts from Santa myself.
No, this story is to share what some may be feeling and for us to show them where to find love and peace at this time of year when all may seem so hopeless to them.
Christmas, meaning a mass; a celebration of Christ.
I believe if we will stay focused on celebrating Christ Jesus, and not just Him being a baby in a manger, but His love, His grace for everyone, His desire for all to know His peace, then we can all share in the joy of Christmas.
Letís not leave anyone out. Let us show the love of Christ to everyone not just those we go to parties with, not just those we have Christmas dinner with, but to all those the Lord brings across our path during this season.
I remember my older son, who is a pastor, deciding years ago that he and his wife would no longer celebrate Christmas in the gift giving idea of Christmas.
They were a young couple working hard to get by, and when Christmas time came around, family members would all send them gifts and, unknowingly to us, create stress for them.
They felt they had to reciprocate those gifts. They could barely pay their bills at that time and it was very stressful trying to decide what to short so that they could buy gifts.
When they asked that we stop giving gifts, we along with myself, were offended somewhat.
But as he explained to me the feelings this was causing, I saw where the Spirit of Christmas was not about gift giving.
He explained to me that Jesus would never have created such a time for His children to be put under condemnation, under stress, that it was certainly never His intention for His children to feel stress while celebrating Him.
Christmas time brings out feelings in some people that the rest of the year might make you think they never knew Christ Jesus.
Yes, just like the story, ďThe Christmas Carol,Ē featuring a scrooge who is meaner than a snake, even comes around to being a nice guy at Christmas. I believe the Spirit of Christmas is so strong in the air that even those who donít believe in Christ Jesus get caught up in the joy, the love, the peace and goodwill toward others during this time.
Here is my wish for Christmas this year, that we would make it a point to bless those who are less fortunate with what the Lord has so richly blessed us with. That we would take the true meaning of Christmas (celebrating Christ Jesus) and really celebrate Him by giving to those who have no way of paying you back.
When is the last time you gave or did unto the least of these as Jesus says in His word in Matthew 25?
Jesus also, says in His word in John 13 v 34-35 ďA new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.Ē
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.Ē Notice He repeated Himself three times in that scripture to love one another. You think He was trying to make a point?
So this Christmas season be more attentive and alert to those who may not be feeling as joyful as you are, and show some compassion and see what maybe you could do to help.
One of my favorite authors and teachers, Joyce Meyer, always says donít just pray for God to help someone when it is in your power to help them.
We are Godís hands and feet on this earth, so let us be swift to carry out His word and really show the true meaning of Christmas. Let us all celebrate Christ Jesus together as one.
And for those who want to know more about this love of Jesus, this love that creates such excitement this time of year and really all year long, you have only to look in His Word and He will show you His love.
Stay in His word.
May the Lord bless you all this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.
Neta Monroe lives in Salisbury. Read more of her work at godstidbitstome.blogspot.com.