Melinda stared at the December calendar on her desk. Nearly every block was filled with some party or obligation. “Where has the time gone? It’s nearly Christmas and I’m so far behind. How will I get everything done?”
She looked at the stack of catalogs with pages marked by her grandson. He always expected the latest toys. “What in the world is a Tyco Radio-Control Turbo Wheelie Cycle? For $90!” Maybe she’d decide on his gift later.
“Let’s see, who else is on the list? Uncle Charlie. What do you get for someone who has everything? Maybe I’ll skip him this year. . .but, he did get me a gift last year, so I suppose I should get him one. What was it he got me? That smelly perfume! I’ll skip him for now. Who’s next? Aunt Bessie. Hmm, I wonder if she might like some perfume. . .I could ‘re-gift’ it, but maybe Uncle Charlie gave her some, too,. . .”
Frustrated, Melinda put down the list and picked up some Christmas cards. “I’ll do the gifts later - I really need to write some cards. This one with Rudolph is cute. ’Dear Hilary and Harold, This year has been wild - with hurricanes, the long election campaign and my arthritis kicking up. We did manage a cruise to the Caribbean and our daughter went to the Olympics. I redecorated the bathroom. . .Happy Holidays, Melinda and Joe’”
“Whew! If I write that in every card, it’ll take ’til next Christmas! Maybe, I’ll just send e-mail greetings and save postage; that way, I can write about each month’s happenings.”
Melinda sighed. “Maybe if I do some decorating I can get in the spirit.” She opened the decoration tub to find a fiber-optic Frosty. “He’s so cute - ‘Frosty, the snowman’,” she sang as she plugged him in.
Next, she drew out a paper mache figure with a staff in his hand. “Joseph - he’s part of Christmas.” The figure of Mary followed. Placing it beside Joseph, she noticed something missing from Mary’s arms - the small figurine of the baby Jesus.
“Where’s baby Jesus?” She rummaged through the storage box. “Have I lost baby Jesus?”
Do you really need him? Melinda jumped at the sound of a soft voice.
“Who said that?” She looked around the room, but saw no one.
“Who-oo are you?”
Just call me your Christmas conscience. Do you really need Jesus for your Christmas celebration?
“Are you kidding? That’s why we celebrate - it’s Jesus’ birthday. C-H-R-I-S-T-mas - Get it?”
I get it, but do you?
“What do you mean?”
It seems to me your whole C-H-R-I-S-T-mas celebration has little to do with Jesus. Let’s start with the Christmas gifts - why do you give them?
“I. . .uh, guess it’s tradition and it’s a way to show how much we love Jesus and each other.”
How much do you love Uncle Charlie? And how does giving your grandchild a Tyco Radio-Control Turbo Wheelie Cycle show you love Jesus?
“Well, I. . .”
And, about the Christmas cards. Do the cards you choose send a greeting that celebrates Christ’s birthday or are they really a way for you to share about yourself and your activities?
“I think people are interested in each others’ lives. . .”
Isn’t that something you could share throughout the year? Couldn’t you use Christmas as an opportunity to share the gospel with people like Hilary and Harold who don’t know the Lord?
“O.K. If they don’t know Him, why do they send me a Christmas card every year?”
Good question. Why do people send Christmas cards, exchange gifts and decorate if it really doesn’t celebrate the real meaning of Christmas?
“I don’t know. We’ve just been doing it for so long. How can I get refocused?”
Ask God to show you.
So, Melinda prayed for God to redeem the meaning of Christmas in her heart and life. And He did.
Instead of an expensive toy, she gave her grandchild a set of DVD’s about Bible heroes. She donated to missions in Uncle Charlie’s name and she sent the gospel message to Hilary and Harold along with a note sharing her personal testimony.
She began thinking of ways to use secular traditions to share Jesus, too - “Evergreens represent eternal life. Frosty could melt, but Jesus is forever with us. Tree lights were like Christians in the world. . .Christmas was really going to be C-H-R-I-S-T-mas again.”
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