Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas: Associations and Reflections

For the past decades, I've associated Christmas with a number of random things.  There was this pair of white school socks I would hang at the head of my bed on Christmas eve, as I waited for Santa Clause to fly through our window (we didn't have a chimney).

Then there was also the 8ft. Christmas tree with golden balls and golden-winged angel ornaments we would put up together on one relaxing October or November day. I get a warm giddy feeling every time I turn on the twinkling yellow lights.  Then of course there are the Santa Clause dolls around the house.  One hanging on our door post, another standing by the Christmas tree, and also there's one sitting on  our dining room TV.

Sometimes, I would also associate Christmas with the activities or festivities.

Plus singing and dancing to the fun upbeat Christmas music.

There's the kris kringle where we act like "mommy"/ "daddy" and give gifts to our "babies."  There are also Christmas concerts, musicals or plays.  And in the recent years, Starbucks Christmas drinks also come to mind.

And I also associate Christmas with certain concepts or thoughts.. like Christmas being a time with family.. or a time to remember the birth of Christ... and of course happiness.  That's why based on observation, a lot of people experience self-pity (one even died of heart attack because of loneliness according to TV Patrol today) if they don't have their families around, gifts received, fun parties to attend and other associations present.

Then last night, on the eve of Christmas, it dawned on me that since Christmas symbolizes Jesus' birthday more than anything else, (1) my associations were not directed primarily on Jesus and, (2) I have already prepared gifts for most family and friends, but I still don't have a gift for him!

What a shame, I was more focused on work, festivities and other visitors, than on the birthday celebrant Himself.  Then I asked myself a very difficult question.  What can you give Jesus who already has the whole world in His hands?

We may have different answers.  After much thought, I realized I would like to give Jesus a heart of worship. A heart that realizes Christmas is not a time for frivolities but for moments enjoyed with Jesus.  (God has made a way for us to be with Him so why don't we make the most of this gift?)  But in order that we may have a meaningful time with Jesus we must let go of a few things.  We need to erase anger, bitterness, hopelessness, envy, greed, pride, etc. by the blood of Jesus and be filled instead with thanksgiving and praise (I realized it's nearly impossible to worship when we're harboring such sins). A heart that gives more room to Jesus, and less room to me.

Many of you may ask, "Shouldn't we have a heart of worship everyday?" Exactly!  Since Christ has saved us, our lives are not for our own selfish gain anymore ("To live is Christ.." Phil. 1:21).

But isn't it ironic that when Christmas comes, we get so tied up with all the busy-ness of the season (whether in business or ministries or parties) and other associations, that we have less time, energy and passion in worshiping God?

What things do you associate Christmas with?

How do you plan to make the birthday celebrant feel special?

What gift would you like to give Jesus today?

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