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Merry Christmas to you all!

I haven’t done a Christmas post yet, so here is a random thoughts Christmasy post for you to read. I’ll warn you–my Christmas life is sort of lacking in excitement and festivity at this point. But I do have a few Christmasy thoughts rattling around in my head.

It’s getting close to the middle of December (crazy hard to believe!), and so far we’ve gotten a fair bit of rain here in Northern California (though no thunderstorms yet), my family has finally picked up a Christmas tree, we are one the verge of getting the Christmas decorations up, and I’m about halfway done with my family Christmas shopping.

Yes, we are a little behind on the Christmasy things schedule. Except for Christmas music. We were listening to it before Thanksgiving.

I am kind of proud of myself for actually starting my Christmas shopping before the week of Christmas. Now, I just need to make sure I still finish before then…oh, and wrap the gifts, too. I can fool myself into thinking I have a ton of time to get it done, and before I know it it’s Christmas Eve and I’m still not done.

I love Christmas time. I don’t know how I would survive the long cold winter weather if it weren’t for the Christmas cheer to brighten things up. The sad thing is that it never seems to last long enough. I think Christmas should definitely be a two-month-long event, instead of only a month.

But I guess thinking about it a little more, I’m realizing that even though the so called “Christmas spirit” is only around in our homes and society for the month of December, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be festive and loving and generous during the rest of the year.

I think I saw somewhere that donations for charities and homeless shelters and handouts skyrocket during the holiday season, due to people feeling more “charitable” or sentimental or simply duty-bound to give to people less fortunate than themselves.

That’s great and Christmas definitely is a time of giving and showing love and kindness to others and I confess that I need to be more aware of the needs of people myself, especially during this season. Giving to others in kind to what we have been given by God–the ultimate gift of his Son, Jesus–demonstrates the true spirit behind the holiday.

But I think that if we are only thinking of that during the holiday season, for one and a half, maybe two months out of the year, then our motives and focus is all wrong.

Christmas is just the beginning of what Jesus came to give us. He was not only God’s gift to us to be born here, but to also live, show us what life is all about, then give his life for us, and be raised to new life in victory for us.

If we only think of others because of and during the celebration of Jesus’ birth, we miss His message to us to give and live out our lives in service to each other the rest of the year–in other words, every day of our lives.

Just like Sunday is not the only day out of the week that we should be taking the time to read the Bible and learn more about God, December should not be the only time out of the year that we focus on giving generously and being kind and helpful to others. It’s sure a great reminder of the true sacrificial love that brought Jesus down to earth, but all too often that reminder is left forgotten by the wayside as soon as the New Year rolls around.

In addition, as Christians we often use the Christmas holiday as an outlet for sharing its real meaning and rest of the gospel message with others; but once that evangelistic opportunity passes, we shouldn’t let our soul-winning enthusiasm pass away with the Christmas season.

We need to be always loving and generous to the less-fortunate people in the world, always fervent in sharing the story of why Jesus came to earth. I’m just as guilty as anyone of letting this fact slip by, of getting immersed in the festivity of the season and forgetting to keep the spirit alive in me all year round.

So in the first place, let’s not forget the real story and meaning of Christmas; and second, let’s not forget to let that Christmas spirit follow us into January, February, March, and every other month of the year.

Merry Christmas!