Pamela A. Johnson
The line wrapped around the building. Hundreds of people stood in the cold and drizzling rain at 5:30 in the morning. Crazy, huh? Well, two of those crazy people were my sister-in-law and I among the sea of fellow bargain-hunters waiting for Walmart to open their doors. Once the “flood gates” opened it was chaos as people scrambled to fill their shopping carts and arms with five dollar coffee makers and hand mixers, $99.00 color t.v.’s and home game systems. After splitting up and searching the shelves, our cart was also filled with our desired treasures—not going overboard, of course. Alas, the line for the cashier was like a line waiting to ride the newest roller coaster at Six Flags.
As we drove from the parking lot we both agreed that we would never do that again, we just wanted to be able to say that we’d experienced the mayhem and frenzy of early morning shopping on the busiest shopping day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving, notoriously referred to as Black Friday. We even took pictures of each other standing in the line to document our early morning shopping experience.
In the hustle and bustle of the holidays—buying and wrapping presents, preparing turkeys and cakes, finding and decorating the perfect tree, office parties, holiday luncheons, Christmas plays, and sending out cards—it is a challenge not to lose sight of the real meaning for the holiday. This season is about celebrating the most important birthday to ever take place—the birth of a Messiah, a savior. A baby boy, born in a manger to an unmarried virgin woman. A baby boy, born to save a dying world. A baby boy, born to bridge the gap created between us and God because of sin. A perfect child born into an imperfect, corrupt world to save us from ourselves. What a huge responsibility for an infant!
Just meditate on that for a moment. . . God turned himself into himself and become flesh and blood. The Son of Man, the King of Kings, the Lamb of God, the author and the finisher, the alpha and the omega—who was born to take away the sins of the world. Which ultimately resulted in the “true” Black Friday—the Friday when the Savior was ridiculed, taunted, and tortured until death on the cross. Why? So, you and I, our children and our grandchildren could have life. Yes, that was a bleak, dark, and sad day, but a necessary day. But rejoice yet again, for on the third day, He rose with ALL power in His hands.
So, in the midst of shopping, eating, singing and enjoying family and friends (it is OK to do these things) let us not miss the true meaning behind this time of year. Read the story of Jesus’ birth found in Luke 2:1-20, it serves as an instant reminder. You may want to start a tradition, if you haven’t already done so, and read and discuss this story with your children and family on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.
Regardless, of the gifts you do or do not receive on Christmas, rejoice and give thanks for the greatest gift that was given to us long before we walked the earth—the gift of abundant, everlasting life that came in the form of a newborn baby boy wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Season’s Greetings! As God blesses each of you this season—make sure you pass those blessings on to someone else. Remember, you don’t need money to be a blessing to someone--a hug, a smile, a kind word, a reminder that Jesus loves them and they are not here by accident, and a reassurance that God is in control regardless of a feeling of losing control—these gifts are priceless.