Remembering ChristmasToday, a lot of people will scurry about to try and get the last of their Christmas shopping done, at stores which are entirely too crowded for both man and beast. No small number of these people will be finishing Christmas lists a mile long, buying for everyone, and even for some folks they don't know all that well.
Don't get me wrong, I am no Scrooge:
I believe very much in the spirit of Christmas, and in gift giving and the thankful receiving of gifts, as well as in making provision this time of year for those less fortunate than ourselves-if there is one thing I have learned over the course of my life it is to be thankful to God for what blessings that I have, because there is always someone to be found who is less fortunate or worse off than myself or my family. However, we too easily forget when giving and receiving the reason why we do these things, and we shouldn't do them for the sake of feeling compelled.
Christmas is a time, we should be reminded, when we not only celebrate the birth of the Saviour of the world, but also when we are reminded of the facts of that birth-that his parents were left needy and out in the cold, going only to a stable cave where animals were kept. We have a romantic vision, I think, of the manger and of the scene that night...but the hardship that the Holy Family was subjected to becomes far more clear when we render the passage this way in our minds:
...And she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a feeding trough. The Creator of the Universe stooped so low as to spend his first night in the world laying in a bin of animal feed, likely some very rough hay.
I've had some thick Christmases and some thin ones, this year being among the latter because of some very unexpected financial difficulties-we just had to replace a vehicle and Nicole recently had back surgery. However, I have never had a Christmas pass without having a very good meal, usually more than one present of some kind from various people in my life who care enough to think of me this time of year, and a lot of general good cheer, no matter the circumstances of the year just passed.
There are those in the world who will not enjoy those things today and tomorrow, and those who will wonder where their next meal is coming from, and there are people with no one to pray for them. There are people, just as was the case on that night 2,000 years ago, who have no room for them at the inn. This is what we should remember when giving and receiving at Christmas.