The Spirit of Christmas

I know what some of you are anticipating.  A post about how Christmas no longer feels like Christmas.  How it has become so commercialized.  That this time of year is no longer about the One whose birthday we celebrate and rather about stress and spending and going and stuff.  I know.  You are right.  The Christmas season has a lot of trappings that I don't like.  And, to be perfectly honest, I heave a sigh of relief on December 26 when we are "done".  (I used to say "when things return to normal" but now I know that 'normal' is just a setting on my dryer).
This time of year brings additional demands to our already overcrowded life. Spending levels that are often regretted come January.More food than most of us need to eat.  Expectations that we want to meet because they are held by people we love.  And I know that Christmastime can accentuate the loneliness that some folks feel, intensify the pain of loss or lack.  I know.  And then there is the attack on Christmas (yes, I agree with Bill O'Reilly about this!)  Holiday trees?  No manger scene?  Really????

It's enough to make us all want to bypass Christmas.  Or cancel it.  Or at least unplug the Christmas machine that it has turned into.

But that's not what this post is about.  No, it's about what I truly do sense at Christmastime.  In spite of the stress and the spending and the strictness about avoiding the name of Jesus, I sense God's Spirit in a much greater way during this season.  Truly, I do!  There is an outpouring of generosity among ALL peoples - not just those who are called by His name.  A joy (or at least an attempt at it) that isn't present New Year's to Thanksgiving.  A focus on children - to make them feel happy and loved and valued.  A kindness to neighbors...even to strangers. A longing for home - to be with those we treasure.  To celebrate others and to communicate that value to them.  A desire to serve and give and benefit others more than ourselves. A sparkle and a twinkle and a song!

The only explanation of this goodness, this  directing of the heart towards others, is the Spirit of Christ.  I believe that God, in His mercy and grace, floods the Earth with His Spirit during this celebration of His Son unlike the rest of the year.  Because He is good and He blesses us, even though we don't deserve it. And it shows up in the "Merry Christmas"-es that ring through the stores.  The lights and decorations that, frankly, are a great deal of trouble to put up! The gifts given, the goodies crafted, and the mad scramble to get home.

  Scripture says that it is His kindness that leads men to repentance.  (Romans 2:4) My prayer is that those of us whom are already indwelt with His Spirit will have eyes to see, ears to hear, heart to acknowledge what He is up to.  And that the other folks will see His grace, His kindness, and understand the source.

Maybe, just maybe, that explains the attack on Christmas?  Just a thought.

|Merry Christmas to you, my friends!