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.
In 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).