Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

So I'm sitting here, presents mostly wrapped, decorations out, hours before the Christmas Candlelight Service. My daughter is eating her dinner, watching Polar Express and the Christmas tree is lit up in all its holiday glory. We have been to Lights of Lakeland, we have been to Disney's Hollywood Studios to see the Osbourne Christmas Lights (and snuck in a ride on Star Tours). I have battled the crowds at Target, Publix and the dreaded Walmart. The Christmas season is in full swing.

But I have a confession to make.

For the first time ever, I haven't been excited for Christmas at all. It has not felt like Christmas. I haven't had the "Christmas Spirit".

This is something I have been struggling with for a couple weeks. There is a lot I could blame it on: work, finances, illness in the family, basically waiting on the inevitable passing of my grandmother. With all that going on who could possibly be in the Christmas spirit? But with all I have done above, who couldn't be in the Christmas spirit?



But while watch a video that was posted on YouTube by StarWars.com, I came across this video:


After watching this, it hit me. The tree doesn't matter. The presents, the cookies, the decorations, the lights, the Christmas specials, none of them matter. What does matter is the reason we celebrate Christmas to begin with.

1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.
2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
-Luke 2:1-20 (King James Version)
After all I have dealt with through the past few weeks, I have come to realize, again, that Christmas isn't about the presents wrapped neatly under the tree, or about the tree, the decorations, the parades, the lights, the pageants, the holiday specials or even Santa Claus. Christmas is a time to remember the being of the promise God made to save us. Its to remember the ultimate gift He gave to us, His only son Jesus, who was born in a manger, grew up and was killed in exchange for our eternal lives. My focus for some reason shifted and its amazing that it was all brought back into focus by a short 2 minute video clip from one of my favorite Christmas specials. 

So as you get up in the morning, gather around the tree, and rip through box after box wrapped up under the tree, take a moment and remember the true gift, the gift that started it all. 

Now to be a little less serious, here is another Christmas video. Here is the great James Arnold Taylor with Tom Kane presenting Twas The Night Before Christmas as read by Obi-Wan Kenobi and friend. Enjoy:


So with that, I bid you adios! I pray you all have a merry Christmas and as safe and prosperous New Year! Keep your focus forward and remember....

The Force will be with you, always.

Live long and prosper,

And may God bless you and yours richly this holiday season!

Merry Christmas!!!!