Christmas as a Child
Christmas was so much fun when I was a child. I would make up an advent calendar out of paper to cross off the days, but I started in October at the latest. I thought it would be shorter if I only counted the days in between the present and Christmas Day. But I only succeeded in having one day left over. It seemed the days would never all pass so that Christmas would arrive bringing the promise of gifts and time together with my family.
But it finally did come and us kids would sneak around the house in the early morning hours. Before we had money of our own my sisters and I would quietly set homemade presents in the doorway of my parents’ bedroom to surprise them when they woke up. Then we would tiptoe downstairs and get into our stockings, which were the only gifts we were allowed to touch until mom and dad woke up. After we finished looking through our stockings and seeing all the presents that were sitting under the tree, the hour our parents slept longer than we did was agonizing.
Christmas as an Adult
But what about now that I am an adult? Things have definitely changed! “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) This may seem like a funny verse to read at Christmas time, but think about how our views of Christmas have changed since we were children (or at least should have).
If we were to be completely honest most of us would probably admit that as children Christmas was mostly about the presents and the vacation from school. But what do we think of now? We think more of the gifts we need to buy for others, not the presents we are going to get ourselves. We think of the children in our lives, whether they are our own or nieces, nephews, or grandchildren. We want to get them something they will enjoy. We struggle to come up with the perfect gift for our spouse.
We may also be thinking of all the work that lies ahead of us. Yes, we may have a few days off from work, but all the cooking and cleaning that needs to be done takes up any spare hours that we thought we might be able to use doing something enjoyable with our families. To a child “holiday” means fun and time off from school. To an adult “holiday” means work.
We may even consider giving donations to various organizations at this time of year, probably more because we know we are going to need more tax deductions and this is our last chance than actual concern for those to whom we are donating.
Where Does Christ Fit?
As adults our attitudes about Christmas may be a little closer to where we need to be, but are we really there yet? There is nothing wrong with giving or getting gifts. There is nothing wrong with spending money on the ones we love. Certainly giving to those who are less fortunate than we are is a worthy activity. But where does Christ fit into all this?
The only reason we celebrate Christmas is because God willingly sent His Son to be born here on earth, grow up, and take the punishment for our sins. Do we put more emphasis on gifts and the food we need to prepare than we put on the Savior?