The Season to be Jolly
Updated: Sep 3
It’s 4:40am. I just finished doing a 10-minute stretch. My shoulders and arms are aching from the vacuuming and mopping I did yesterday.
My wrists and hands are slightly hurting too. Not from the cleaning but from playing Candy Crush Saga on the tablet while resting. Guilty. I swore off that game last year but when I saw it again last night I couldn’t resist. The difficult level was challenging enough to reel me in until I was playing it nonstop holding the tablet hunched for 30 minutes. Now, I’m paying for that and will never touch that tablet again – seriously.
Is it really jolly?
I'm preparing the house for Christmas, but what do we really celebrate during this time?
Every Christmas, the focus has been more on the songs, decorations, gift shopping, outfits, parties, food, reunions, family, romantic Christmas movies, hookups, Santa Claus, Rudolf, Christmas trees, parols, giving, and receiving.
“Christ” being the reason for Christmas has become an afterthought or the postscript.
In the Philippines, once the “ber” months (September onward) hit it is officially the Christmas season. Many people get excited because it signals a lot of sumptuous food, colder weather, gifts, familiar music, colorful decorations, longer break, and the much awaited 13th month pay (Kaching!).
There are many though who dread this season because it means impossible traffic, crowded streets and public areas (especially transportation hubs), spending more money than usual on gifts (goodbye, 13th month pay), more parties, strategic planning for the next year (How do we continue to up our sales and improve current systems?), and rushing to close end-of-year deals and accounts. Everything seems to come to a head during the most blessed time of the year. The stress buildup and pressure to perform totally call into question why we call this season the happiest time of the year.
Why do we celebrate Christmas anyway?
If we read the Bible especially the books after the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), there is no mention of the followers of Christ celebrating or commemorating His birth. The focus is more on who Christ is, what He has done, our rights, privileges, and responsibilities because of that, and what we can look forward to in the coming days. Was the Lord Jesus Christ actually born in December? According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the date December 25 was actually a way of Christianizing a Roman holiday about the winter solstice on the “resurgence of the sun.”¹ Another view assumes that since Jesus was conceived during the spring equinox (March), it is but logical that He was born on December 25. More non-biblical traditions were added through the centuries until Christmas evolved into a celebration of gift-giving and family. In recent times, there has been more effort exerted into bringing “Christ” back into the season as people are increasingly trying to be politically correct and focus on the “happy holidays” instead. Just thinking about all that makes me want to go bury myself under my pillows and sleep through today. Bah. Humbug.
The real reason
I end this blog however by pointing towards the One who gave me life and significance, who deserves all the glory, honor, and praise in the world.
It is because of the Father’s love that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ that if we put our trust in Him we will not die but live forever with Him in heaven.
You see, though I’ve been following Christ in the last 30 plus years, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that He left heaven to live a painful perishing life on earth. All that because He loves you and me. I have not always been faithful and yet He continues to love me. How could anyone do that? It is only because He loves me. So, during this season, amidst the gifts, food, parties, and even family, take a long pause and give thanks to the One loves you more than you’ll ever know.
¹Hillerbrand, H. J. (2018, December 14). Christmas. Retrieved December 25, 2018, from https://www.britannica.com/topic/Christmas