Cowboy Christmas

As we prepare for Christmas, what if we concentrate on preparing our hearts with Love, for Love?

I understand that Dec 25th was a compromise birth date celebration, founded by Roman Emperor Constantine, (And perhaps with his Mom’s influence too.).  Yet, it’s become the traditional season for celebration of the Lord Jesus Christ, Ha’Mashiach Yeshua Ben David.

Advent has become a season of preparation for Christmastide. The evergreen tree has moved from a fertility symbol into a sign of everlasting life with our Lord. The tree that was so pagan is now adorned with lights which symbolize the Light of the World shining among us.  Chrismons have become tradition in many church services. ( ).  

In homes, we use colorful ornaments of our choice, some of which remind us of joys past in our family history. Some remind us of the sharing we should impart (during this coming of colder weather in our Northern Hemisphere) and all over the world, to those widows, orphans and many who need the blessings of our bounty.

The gift giving, as I understand it, came from St Nicholas of Myra, who among other generous gifts, gave dowries for three daughters of a poor but devout Christian, so they would not have to become prostitutes. During the middle ages, gift giving to children happened on the eve of St Nicholas name day. Later, Martin Luther propagated moving this 6th of December gift giving into the 24th & 25th.  

The Yule log began as a pagan celebration associated with Norse god Odin. Odin became associated with gift giving & riding through the sky with reindeer.  Almost no one knows of Odin, except we depict Santa with the long white beard given Odin. “The Night Before Christmas” poem pushed our modern image of Santa. And, many add warmth to our Christmas by throwing extra logs in our fireplaces & woodstoves.

In the spirit of giving, we take our kids for Santa pictures. Charities try to move our giving nature with Santa’s appearance on many street corners, in mall centers, and in front of larger retail stores. How many times have we dropped our change from a purchase into those kettles?

So, over centuries, humanity has re-worked pagan celebrations into Christian religious holidays.

I know some of you worry about the pagan beginnings of our celebrations. Here’s a thought: God helped His Israelites take over pagan Canaan. They then enjoyed the vineyards they did not graft, the wells they did not dig, and the trees they did not plant. Paul used the pagan temple courtyard in Athens to preach the Gospel.

As children of the Most High God, we are invited now, to use our resources to bring Love to our neighbors, and the Good News of Supreme Love to this world.

It takes a lot of commitment to tithe. If you get a Christmas bonus, consider doubling, tripling up on your Love donations. (Ditto Jan tax refunds.) God does not promise, as the TV preachers do, that “seed money” will get you rich in this world.  Seed money, given properly, does allow your Christmas Spirits to soar far past this season!  Your souls will long outlive your earthly body.

 It takes a lot to give your time. You can always get more money. Your time is your most precious asset. And timeliness is your most precious gift. As we experience faster days, more stress, more self reflection, how much more can we give, than to slow a moment, join with a small group, and donate a block of time that will make meaning in other’s lives? You have a chance to ponder, as Mary did with an Angelic visit, what could this mean?

It takes even more devotion to consistently to believe that salvation is not simply your making it into the holy afterlife. It is invitation, the appropriation, the privilege of being able to share in the plans of our God, through the influence of Jesus’ interpretations of Scripture, and living with the Holy Spirit whom we can choose to have dwell among us.  What can it be like? Can you imagine, living every day starting with this day, with feelings of belonging? Real belonging!

In my Relationship Coaching practice, I’ve learned, I’ve seen in live action, I’ve felt the joy of how satisfying our need for contribution to “just causes” beyond self, can make huge shifts in alleviation of depression and anxiety.  Cortisol is naturally replaced with serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine.

Ya can’t help but get “happy” feelings of belonging, when you give beyond your Self!  Jesus knew and knows this stuff leads to lasting Joy. We humans are just beginning to find the power God offers from within.  And part of what we can do this season?  Pass it forward.

Pass forward traditions of contributions. Share these with your children and grands. Show the Spirit of Joy to the world, as you live life through these next months.  Here’s a great chance to replace unwanted habits with preferred habits. Get a start on resolution today.

Don’t get into debt to give your gifts. Give gifts with meaning, and hope of Love. Try giving smaller gifts, spreading them through more days. I love the tradition of something useful, meaningful, 1 a day through Hanukkah. Then what about sharing your weekend before or after the 25th with the more mature in your life, maybe in the retirement communities, maybe in the old home places that bring so many memories back to life.  There’s the 12 days of Christmas that go into January. What might be great to share during each of those days?

Got a gathering where food is in abundance? What about giving any excess to food banks? To homeless? Got a gathering where people give token gifts of appreciation? What if you each picked a charity, a cause either collectively or individually and gave those $10 – $20.00 values as cash to a cause rather than another “As Seen on TV”?

Just some thoughts for me, as well as you.  Sometimes it is hard to take your own advice, even if you know it’s gonna be best for all concerned.  Why not take this challenge? I can attest, some of my best Christmas Seasons have been those where life, time and Love have been shared.

Merry Christmas to All, and to All a Good Life!

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