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. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrismon_tree
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
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
So, over centuries,
humanity has re-worked pagan celebrations into Christian
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
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.
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,
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
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
Merry Christmas to All,
and to All a Good Life!