I have heard it from many people this year and have come to believe that I have been experiencing it myself. The lack of Christmas spirit. Times are hard for many people this year. Economically our nation is in a state of crisis. I have many friends who have lost loved ones recently which is making it extremely hard to deal with the holidays. The fact that we have had very little snow in our typically snow-littered Christmas season hasn't helped. But I was thinking about it today and thinking of what it truly means to be in the 'Christmas spirit'. Just listing off the reasons why my Christmas spirit hasn't been there has made me realize that my focus is entirely wrong. It is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the tradition and commercialism of Christmas. It's an underlying understanding that during Christmas you put up a tree, buy presents for people, go see your relatives, and have a big Christmas dinner. These things are all great, but I don't believe our 'Christmas spirit' should be derived from these things.
I think the the spirit should be a spirit of thankfulness. Thankfulness to God for sending his son to us on this very special day. Today I was thinking about the true miracle of this day and everything that it has meant for the rest of history. The true significance of this birth. Of all of the births in history, of all of the millions of babies brought into the world, this one was the most remarkable. I was trying to think about what the different players in the Christmas story must have been thinking and feeling on this very special day. Joseph had to have been an incredibly faithful and trusting man. He was caring for Mary, who he was engaged to, and was pregnant. Though he knew she was a virgin, this was extremely unacceptable in his society. Mary could have gotten stoned for being an adulteress at this time and Joseph could have been shunned for choosing to support her. He chose to trust God and walk along side her and be faithful to Mary. Mary must have been honored and terrified at the same time. Here she was, probably barely even 14 or 15 years old and is told that she is going to give birth to the son of God. Knowing that she is a virgin and that many people will not believe her, she says to the angel Gabriel, 'Let all of these things you have said to me come to pass." She gratefully accepted this very overwhelming and honorable task into her heart. Jesus was born under seemingly unremarkable conditions. In a manger with animals and shepherds around. Not something you would imagine a Son of God being born in to. But God had a powerful purpose for all of this. I don't really know that I know all of His reasons, but I imagine it to be because He wanted to send a message that he was here for the poor, for the rich, for the sick, for the needy, for the young, for the old...for everyone.
When I really look into the birth of Christ and what it has meant to the world, I instantly get my Christmas spirit back. It puts to mind the huge sacrifice that was made for us later on in his life. It also puts to mind what Christ stood for. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. I think that our Christmas spirit should come from these things and should always be remembered. Merry Christmas friends. :)