This post was written years ago when we lived up north. Sadly, it seems to be as much or even more appropriate today.
The beginning of December, I set out to find a small manger for a Christmas craft project. It could have been anything, on an ornament, a Christmas card, or even a figurine.
First, I went to the Dollar Store. I found nothing Christian but countless sets of Christmas cards with Santa and reindeer on them. Next, I went to Walmart (good luck there.) Nada. Then I walked through Home Depot – absolutely nothing Christian at all, but I could have purchased a red and green six-foot dragon . . . what that has to do with Christmas I’ve yet to figure out.
A few days later, still searching, I traveled to two shopping centers in another town. I checked out Michael’s craft store. The sweet girl acknowledged they used to carry them . . . but searching together, neither of us could find them anywhere. Neither did World Bazaar, J.C. Penny, or T.J. Maxx.
I thought Christian-run Hobby Lobby would undoubtedly carry a small manger scene, even if it was on a postcard! Yet once again, found nothing. I’m praying they were only sold out.
Finally, I found a Lifeway Christian bookstore. Aha! I thought, of course, I’ll find a manger scene here! And yes, I did! It was on a box of spiced apple cider. Desperate to find anything that might work, I purchased the over-priced drink mix, cut out the cardboard manger scene on the front, and pasted it on my craft project. (At least we’ll enjoy the beverage sometime during these cold winter months.)
Halfway through this hectic quest I felt like Charlie Brown, frustratingly asking where was Christmas??? I could find a plethora of Santa’s, sleighs, reindeer antlers, elf hats, chipmunks, cute bears and Grinch’s, but no Christ in Christmas!
Then I thought, at least I can find Christmas at church. Absolutely! I’ll find Peace on Earth here during this Joyous Season. Instead, I found a church member fussing in public, running around fuming, complaining, blaming others because they felt overworked and unappreciated in their position. (Hey, if your position is primarily to please people and not our Lord, get your priorities straight!)
Then yesterday, as my husband and I were finalizing the Christmas gifts and food for four community families in need; getting ready to drop off our congregation’s many generous donations, I found it. Eureka!
THIS IS WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT: Christmas is about the Joy of Christ – blessing others, not ourselves. Bringing smiles and true Joy freely to others! A Free Gift.
As Jesus left his heavenly home to be born in Bethlehem, living as a man among us, he understood that completely. He beheld some petty frustrations of his friends and the slings and arrows of the Pharisees. He experienced the same feelings, joys, frustrations, challenges, and laughter that we do. He gave of himself, unselfishly. He sacrificed EVERYTHING, his very life for our pettiness, grumpiness, busyness, and selfish human behavior. All we must do is accept it. That was the best GIFT he could ever give.
Parents -do your children know what is the real reason for Christmas?
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)