The child sat on Santa's lap, unsure if the jolly old man would grant her wish.
"You see, I'm Jewish," she said.
"Oh, that's all right," Santa said, "Santa doesn't care if you're Jewish or Buddhist or Muslim. He doesn't care if you're black or white or red or green or blue. Santa loves all children the same."
It was supposed to be a sweet moment, but it turned my stomach the way Santa (a fictional character we elevate to superstar status) took credit for the kind of love only Jesus can give. And it irked me that people who don't give any homage to Jesus still want to claim His holiday.
Yet I know I am just as guilty. Satan has done a masterful job of distracting us from the real meaning of Christmas, infusing it with all sorts of rituals and traditions that have nothing to do with the Christ child. I've got a Christmas tree in my living room, presents resting underneath. I've fallen victim to the pressure of creating the perfect holiday for my kids, spending more than I probably should. Twinkling lights hang throughout my house. We'll bake and decorate cookies, eat far too much. Stockings line the banister. We'll drink our traditional egg nog and 7 Up and eat soup at Christmas Eve. And none of it, NONE of it has anything to do with Jesus' birth.
My spirit feels the dichotomy. Tension mounts in my frenzy to get all the Christmas preparations done while something within longs only for stillness, quiet. I sense it isn't right, this strange way of celebrating the birth of Jesus. It feels pagan, too much about us and those we love, without enough solitude to hear Him beckon. And yet I don't know how to reclaim it, to satisfy this yearning in me to make it more, to make it special beyond the thoughtfulness of gifts and good will.
Shouldn't I try to reclaim it for Him? But how? I like to sit in my living room lit only by Christmas lights, all by myself, and quietly reflect on Jesus, what He's done in my life, who I am because of Him. I like to sit there and ponder, trying in some small way to remember the night my Lord was born. I admit it doesn't happen every year, but when it does, my soul rests and knows gratitude and wonders at the Blessed Baby.
“Christmas belongs to us, the believers of Christ, it doesn’t belong to the world. Christ needs to be elevated in our hearts year around. He didn’t come to be marketed as a seasonal gift on sale for half price. We were the ones that were bought at price.”
Is reclaiming Christmas a matter of focusing on Him? How can we do that better?
How do you try to reclaim Christmas?
To visit more In Other Words participants, visit Karen at In Love W.I.T.H. Jesus.
Photo Credit: ecastro