Tag: Christmas decorations

Christmas Throughout The Year

Picture 684Preparing for Christmas comes earlier and earlier each year. In years gone by, I remember decorations coming out in retail stores after Thanksgiving. Then some marketing expert discovered that the earlier advertisements, decorations and specials came out, the more money consumers would spend. It created a larger window in which to capitalize on what most people count as their favorite holiday of the year.

Now little ones start making their lists in January or even late December – sometimes before the Christmas decorations are put away. People plan Christmas in July projects and stores start decorating in September. Many people, including me, prepare for Christmas all year long – taking advantage of discounted wrapping paper, cards and decorations after the season is over and always on the lookout for Christmas gifts for next year.

The gifts are put in their proper place. The wrapping paper and boxes are either thrown away or stored. The house gets put back in order. The non-stop eating ceases and everyone gets serious about being healthier and focusing on projects that were put on hold during the Christmas holidays.

DSC06772I do own a lot of Christmas decorations – some collected from countries all over the world, but my favorite is something my young son made me one year. He knew I wanted a nativity set and he started making one for me out of clay. He said he only had time to make one piece, but had started with the most important piece. He never finished it, but that was fine with me. I now have several nativity sets. One beautiful handmade ceramic set was given to me by a dear friend. I think of her with gratitude each time I display it. In the center of that nativity I place the piece made by my son those many years ago – the baby Jesus in the manger.

My son was right. The nativity is nothing without Jesus. Christmas was the beginning of the fulfillment of His plan to give us the most important gift we could ever receive. By choice, His cradle led to His cross and my salvation. I am grateful for that gift every day – not just on Christmas.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God (2 Corinthians 9:15, Ephesians 2:8 NKJV).

 

The True Spirit of Christmas

Many people the world over look forward to Christmas. Time off from work, time spent with family, looking forward to special gifts and an occasion for parties may be the sole reason for the celebration.

Retail stores put out Christmas decorations earlier each year. They suppose – and they may be right – that makes it easier for customers to get in the Christmas spirit and desire to purchase their products.

Of course, merchandisers profit from the Christmas season. Many of us believe that it has, in fact, become way too commercial. On the other hand, generosity is expressed more freely by more people at this time of year than any other.

The signs of Christmas spirit may include:

  • making Christmas lists and checking off each present as it is purchased, wrapped, mailed or placed under the tree
  • preparing eggnog, special candies, cookies and a variety of other traditional family dishes
  • making elaborate preparations for parties, trips to see family, gifts for teachers, neighbors and others
  • decorating homes in and out
  • attending Christmas musicals and plays
  • looking for ways to help others through churches and charities

Part of the traditional Christmas celebration includes classic Christmas stories, which are read and reread to children at this time of year.

Charles_Dickens-A_Christmas_Carol-Title_page-First_edition_1843In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge, a grumpy old miser who preferred his own company, is visited by three Christmas spirits on Christmas Eve. What the spirits of Christmas past, present and future showed him so affected Scrooge that his life was radically changed. The result of their visits was that he became the exact opposite of what he had been before. “He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man as the good old City knew, or any other good old city or town in the good old world…. it was said of him ever afterwards that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed that knowledge.”

A Christmas Carol is one of the movies that is on my Christmas season watch list, always saved for Christmas Eve. Of course, it is not the original Christmas story, but it does illustrate what happens when the true Spirit of Christmas visits someone. There is a radical change. To truly know how to keep Christmas well, one must be born of the Spirit of the Christ of Christmas.

Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”(John 3:5). Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).