OPINION – The Christmas I remember most was when I was 11 years old. My mom was pregnant with my youngest sister and was in the hospital with complications. There was quite the stretch where she couldn’t leave the hospital and my siblings and I spent a lot of time with the neighbors while Dad split his time between us, work, and my hospitalized mother. The hospital bills were racking up and time was a precious commodity.
Consequently, Christmas was approaching – but there wasn’t a trace of it in our house. Dad didn’t have time to put up decorations we already had let alone time to pick up a tree or do any shopping. But then, a couple weeks before Christmas, I came home from school to find a decorated Christmas tree in the living room. Some wonderful soul learned of our situation and jumped in to help.
Several days later, Dad picked us up after school and took us to the hospital to spend the evening with Mom. We came home that night and were tickled pink to see that our house had Christmas lights on it. Mom was able to come home from the hospital before Christmas, but my parents were behind on everything. Mom wasn’t supposed to do much so several neighbors helped out; they brought dinner to us every night through Christmas and a few of them went and did the Christmas shopping for mom.
What could have been a miserable Christmas turned out to be full of fun surprises. It is the one I remember and appreciate most.
So I ask, why would these people put so much time and energy into helping us out when their Christmas was also busy and stressful? I think part of the answer is found in the lyrics of my favorite Christmas song, “Christmas Shoes.” The songwriter describes how he felt as he helped out a little boy whose mom was dying.
It makes perfect sense that during this time of year, when we celebrate the birth of our Savoir and spend more time than normal singing and talking about him, we would be willing to give of our time and money – even though this is the month when we feel there’s not enough time or money. We are trying to emulate Jesus, who taught us how to truly be happy and gave us the gift of salvation.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.
Truth is, as busy and crazy as the Christmas season is, we still love it. And considering that the spirit of Christmas is really the spirit of Christ, there’s no reason why we can’t act similarly throughout the year and keep these feelings going all year long.
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