‘Tis the Season
by Delia Latham
Seems like only yesterday I wrote the newsletter editorial welcoming in the new year. It hardly seems possible that December of that “new year” is already half gone. Time flies far too quickly!
I’m sure all of you are deep into plans and preparations for Christmas, just as we are. ‘Tis, after all, the season! The question is … the season for what?
The song bearing that title states, “’Tis the season to be jolly.” And it is. The Christmas season is fun and energizing, with all the hustle and bustle of shopping, baking, decorating—all the things we’ve come to consider necessary to make the season complete. And yet that very hustle and bustle can also at times make it oh-so-difficult to be jolly! Tempers flare, feelings are injured, feet ache and bodies scream for rest. How can one be jolly in the face of all those negative emotions?
Another song proclaims this “the most wonderful time of the year.” And while it certainly can be a beautiful, amazing time, it can also be the most stressful. The economy has spiraled downward … jobs are scarce, money’s tight, and most of us are concerned for our financial futures. Trying to find space in our budgets for Christmas giving can make this a time of unhappiness, distress, and unwelcome feelings of inadequacy and failure.
Silent Night—beautiful idea, isn’t it? And yet a few moments of silence would be a precious gift this time of year. Things never seem to be “calm” and “bright”—there’s too much going on! What we wouldn’t give for a moment of heavenly peace!
Song after song, cliché after cliché, I could go on with these examples. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas … isn’t that what we all strive for, sometimes putting ourselves very nearly in a straight jacket to achieve it? Joy to the World … oh, what a concept, when much of the world has never known a moment’s peace and joy!
Before I appear to have sunk into a pit of despair, let me share my viewpoint. Christmas is a wonderful, beautiful, amazing time of year. But I fear we spend so much time worrying about the commercial aspect of the season that we forget it’s true meaning. If money’s short, why is it necessary to put ourselves head over heels in debt to buy gifts we can’t afford? When did being with family and friends cease to be enough to make the day special? Are we seeking joy and “jolliness” in the wrong places?
Can’t afford all the fol-de-rol of gifts, elaborate dinners and breathtaking décor? I encourage you to plan a day of simply being with family. Enjoy a hearty meal together. Share wonderful memories. Catch up on each others’ lives. Above all, remember the real Reason for the Season, and take time to thank God for life, love, liberty and all the many blessings in your lives.
If money is no object for you, enjoy this holiday to the fullest … but please remember someone less fortunate. Take your children with you while you shop for a child who might not otherwise receive a Christmas gift. Deliver a turkey or ham to a family who can’t afford one. Spend a little time with a lonely acquaintance who doesn’t enjoy the blessing of a family. And above all, remember the real Reason for the Season, and take time to thank Him for life, love, liberty and all the many blessings in your lives.
Hang the mistletoe and enjoy all the fun that little tradition entails. Put up your tree, if you choose to have one, and stack beneath it as many presents as you can comfortably afford or wish to indulge in. String a thousand lights, bake enough sweets to feed an army, surround yourself with family and friends. Go caroling…roast a few chestnuts…rock around the Christmas tree…because, after all, ‘tis the season.
Yes, indeed. ‘Tis the Season to love each other more than ever. ‘Tis the Season to adore the God who came to earth to save us. ‘Tis the season to be happy. So be happy—not intimidated, depressed, or pressured by ridiculous expectations and man-made traditions that have nothing to do with Christ.
Have a wonderfully jolly, fun, loving, and very merry Christmas!