No, I am NOT Elizabeth Barrett Browning nor William Shakepeare. I don't have the gift of poetry...not that I've tried to develop, anyway.
My only qualification to write this particular post is that I DO LOVE CHRISTMAS. This is my most favorite holiday and time of year of all.
There's no exact telling when Jesus, The Christ, was born; but this is the day that early Christians chose to celebrate His birth. No matter the original reason for choosing this date, I believe that God has truly made this day to be a magical time for humanity. Joseph of the Old Testament told his brothers, upon forgiving them, that what they meant for evil for him, God made into a blessing for His people. I believe it's time to put aside the bickering about why early Christians chose this particular day (including the encroachment of Pagan celebrations in order to win converts to Christianity), at least for one day. No matter what mankind does in God's Name, His Power cannot be diminished or contained when it is, or becomes, His Will and Purpose.
My perception of Christmas has changed over the years and, I must say, it's for the better. It's easy to lose sight of what Christmas is all about when we become overwhelmed with the commercialism and materialism of this holiday. When all is said and done, what DOES Christmas mean?
My pastor preached a wonderful sermon this past Sunday about John's Gospel and it's perception of Jesus' birth. The other Gospels come from various human perspective, but John's comes more from how God sees the picture. What God saw was a world of darkness. A world enveloped in sin and its consequences of that sin. God shined the Light upon this world through His Word, the Creator, the Man. Some knew Him, others did not. Some received Him, others did not. Of those who did receive Him, tho, they became sons of God, even those who believed upon His very Name. As children of God, Christians are able to become and continue to be that salt and light of the world through Him. He lived so that when He died and rose again, we may live eternally from the consequence, guilt, and condemnation of sin...it is free to anyone who asks Him into their heart, in faith believing, that He is their Lord and Saviour. God's love is complete in Jesus.
This is a very abbreviated summary such that I've not done it any justice, but that sermon spoke to me. Working in a materialistic and commercialistic atmosphere for so many years has jaded my spirit in times past. Other retailers know precisely what I mean here. I am happy to be reminded how to return to my roots and better enjoy my moments of Christmas no matter what anyone else is doing.
The Gospels Matthew, Mark and Luke proclaim wonderful news as prophesied by Isaiah. The King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Wonderful, Counselor, Govenor, etc. The magnificence of God was embodied into that of a human being. What a glorious celebration! No wonder the hosts of heavens were said to have sung as they welcomed His birth! :)
M-A-N-Y traditions have come along in the annual celebration of Jesus' birth. Many of those traditions have roots in pagan worship or observations. However, just like there's a version of a flood story in many religious cultures, there's a special view of some of these traditions that make them Christian.
This is my favorite time of year as we get together with family and some friends. We've had some great years celebrating. We've had some not-so-great years celebrating Christmas. But by golly, we CELEBRATED Christmas!
LOL, I remember one Christmas when I was in my teens, we always got together with our neighbor/family friends. We always did an "all-day" thing when we got together for holidays. This particulary year we were ALL miserably sick. I mean A-L-L of us. We figured that we might as well all enjoy our creeping crud together, I guess. We all had various stages of colds and flu~~most of us couldn't stop sneezing and coughing. So we sit at the table, huddled in our blankets, robes and coats, trying to play some kind of game (I forgot what game we were playing~~bingo, Monopoly or Yatzee~~doubt we tried to play cards that day, but who knows), and Mom had several timers go off at various intervals as we passed the medicine around. Looking back, that was pretty insane, and I seriously doubt we'd ever do that again. However, also looking back, even tho none of us felt human, it was kinda neat that we were all sharing the misery together while trying to make light of it together. We don't get together much anymore. We've all kind of drifted apart into parts of town unfamiliar to the rest of us, but we do call each other up from time to time. :)
My favorite thing to do for Christmas is sing. I LOVE Christmas music!! I love the traditional hymns, the kooky hits, the hip and jazzy contemporaries, and the classic Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole types. My favorite Christmas carol to hear is Carol of the Bells. I honestly believe that I could never tire of that song. If someone gave me a CD recording of all the different versions of Carol of the Bells, I would be totally tickled pink, I love it THAT much! : D A few of my favorite songs to sing are Silent Night, Joy to the World, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, O Holy Night, many other hymns; Deck the Halls, Let It Snow, Do They Know It's Christmas Time, that crazy song that mixes greetings of Hanukkah and Christmas (think Adam Sandler did it??), and others. I have a Celtic Christmas CD that my late mother in law had that is incredibly beautiful to listen to, in my most humble opinion, of course! ;)
Is there such thing as too much baking during the Christmas holidays?? I haven't reached that point yet. :} Part of it is due to baking goodies is something I'm pretty good at (so I've been told, lol), and the other part is that the weather is FINALLY conducive to baking!! : D I avoid baking or cooking as much as possible when it's hot outside (which is almost 11 months out fo the year, lol), but when the winds blow that blue northern into my territory (it happens occasionally!), it's time to light up the oven! : D
I love to decorate for Christmas, but I am not seeking to be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens...it ain't that type of home! I've got Christmasy things going thoughout the house, and like most homes, the Christmas themes grow each year. My favorite decoration for my home, tho, is Love. God loved us so much He sent His only begotten Son to reconcile us back to Him, in a tiny baby who grew into His role as Saviour of the world. I've got a few nativities at home. Wouldn't mine more. I can probably find a place for them. :) The peace of the Christmas day is phenomenal to me. It doesn't really matter why this day was chosen, but I believe we can all enjoy this moment of peace and good tiding to man. Pray for peace, let peace begin with me.
There is much more I can write, but for now, this'll hafta do. It's at least a small glimpse into my Estelleworld. There is much I can write about different elements of Christmas that I enjoy. Perhaps I'll attempt to write them next Christmas. Only time will tell.
In the meantime, I wish every one of you a most wonderfully blessed and Merry Christmas! I pray that all of you experience a 3 John 2 New Year!