Christmas Spirit

As I am reading the Red Stocking with my family each night to help us get in the Christmas spirit I am reminded over and over again about the true meaning of Christmas.  I am also reminded about how far away from the reason for the season we have all become.  Living in a country now where Christmas is celebrated but not like in the States I kind of miss the commercialism everywhere.  However, if you ask a Malagasy person (church attendee) about Christmas they will say that “they are celebrating the birth of Christ”.  When I begin to think about the perspective of the Malagasy versus us U.S. citizens I realize that maybe we have missed the meaning of Christmas.  Somehow we have made it all about us, the size of the tree, the decorations, the lights, the buying of presents, the giving of presents, nativities, the church programs, the school programs, parades, family time, even having to attend church on Christmas morning (ouch), etc…. Now all of these things are good and I enjoy them all but I must ask myself if I am doing these things for my own pleasure and entertainment or for the true meaning of Christmas.  As I watch the families here and especially our day guard I am learning much about how to be content in all circumstances.  Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11-12 “I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot.  In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well-fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need”. (HCSB).  Thus, my guard and many others are teaching me this verse through their daily living.  To help give you some idea, our day guard now makes 150,000 Ariary a month.  I know that the number is big but that is only $75 per month for 11-12 hour days six days a week.  (No we are not running a sweat shop here.)  The sad part about that is that our guard is making more working for us than he could as a mechanic in a shop or working in the factories here.  Needless to say the income in Madagascar is far less than in the States.  However, the happiness and joy he and his family have continues to baffle me.  The people here know the true meaning of only receiving a single gift for Christmas and that is the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ.  Though they might not have the Theological knowledge we have and though they have missed the point on so many things one thing is for sure.  The people here know the true meaning of Christmas.  I know I am not alone in saying this but I truly believe that if we as believers in Christ Jesus would live Christ everyday instead of during Easter and Christmas we would not have to worry one bit about putting Christ back in Christmas.  The truth is that Christ has not left Christmas we have left Christ out of our daily lives.  We have forgotten what it means to put on the full Armor of God daily, to take up our cross daily, to pray without ceasing, to honor God first and foremost before we honor ourselves.  So my point is very clear this Christmas season and that is maybe we should stop focusing on all the distractions that come January through November minus Easter season and begin focusing and the gift that is eternal and grows sweeter each day.  What is that you might ask?  An authentic love relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin in a Stable, lived a sinless and perfect life, tempted in every way yet without sin, was crucified on a cross that He did not deserve, was buried, and rose again on the third day.  He did all of this so that you and I could have a relationship with God.  So I implore you all to live out Christ daily and tell others about Him and then see if next Christmas we have to have another fight about the true Christmas Spirit.  Live out Christ today and each day that He blesses you with.  The Christmas Spirit should not be bottled for a season but should be shared throughout the life of the believer in Christ.  So I close with a line from one of my favorite Christmas songs and that is “Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere, go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.” (Adam)


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