Christmas is a lot of fun. How many of us love the opportunity to go shopping right before Christmas, the crowds, looking for a parking space, the lines and most of all the pushing others out of your way?
When I was much younger, I would think about all of the fun things I’d get on Christmas morning. I would make my list and keep reminding my parents of what was on that list. For good measure, I would drop hints and even get my sisters to help in the plot. Then as I grew older, I would tend to think about all of the fun times I’ve had with family and friends.
Christmas is a time for memories — looking back with signs of satisfaction and some longing, and looking ahead to all of the precious moments to be made. But most of all, it’s always the right time to pause, focus heart and mind and soul on Jesus as the reason for the season.
When I think about Christmas, I remember driving from North Carolina with kids in tow to my in-laws’ house in Lyons. It was always one of the miracles of Christmas — arriving with the children alive, or not stopping and leaving one of them beside the road.
And I remember that special book that my family — along with every other family — kept so prominently displayed in preparation for the big day. Every family had one. And every family cherished it, adored it and searched its pages to fill the holiday with meaning.
No, I’m not talking about the Bible. I’m talking about the Sears Christmas Catalog.
My parents struggled in those days as most sharecroppers did, but somehow they would always come up with those items we had circled, highlighted and marked for them in the Sears Christmas Catalog.
But no matter how much we had or got, I never recall a bad Christmas because my family would always be together to open all of our gifts, spend time taking pictures and playing with the new toys.
As an adult, it was a joy to see the happy expression of my children as I played with their toys. I was just showing them the proper way of playing with the new gifts.
Around this time of the year, wonder, love and praise fill my spirit. I think of fun things. I think of fun times. But most of all, I think of Jesus.
Because of Jesus, I really enjoy thinking back on how I felt the day he came into my life. It was just like being a child on Christmas morning — I had received the greatest gift of all.
Because of Jesus, I’ll always have all I want for Christmas. No, it is not measured in the price of the gift or the size of the gift. It is not material things. It is measured in the new life I have received through the greatest gift of all.
What are you thinking about today? Fun things? Fun times? When you think about Christmas, what do you think about? Yes, God wants us to remember the fun things and fun times. But most of all, he wants us to remember the reason for the season.
All of the fun things and fun times of Christmas remind us that the greatest gift from God himself was Jesus as our Lord and Savior. That’s why we’ve got all we want for Christmas through him. Merry Christmas!
Harn is a retired pastor and member of the United Ministerial Alliance.