By now, I figure most folks know Jesus wasn't born on December 25, 0000. Or December 25 of any year. And that December 25 is the date we've chosen to celebrate his birthday.
I'm betting He's not upset, at all, that we're celebrating His birthday.
That's what we do at the Cleveland home every Christmas. Tomorrow morning, at some yet-to-be determined time, our family will gather together and we'll give presents to each other .. present we've bought for them because of our love for them, and this is just one of the two (usually) occasions during the year, that we do that.
I'm betting Jesus likes it when we buy something for someone that they'd like to have, just because we love them.
If you'll note the tree, it's the artificial one I bought a couple years ago, in a fantastic demonstration of the cumulative effects of discounts. And it's festive, with 1000+ lights, plus lots of decorations various folks have made, many of which were, themselves, gifts to us.
I rather think Jesus likes the fact that we see the celebration of His birthday as being a festive occasion. But still keeping others in mind, and involved, via the gifts we give, and get, and show, like some of the decorations.
If you'll notice, there are a bunch of stockings hung on the mantle. Peg made those. When our kids were infants, my Sister-in-Law Joan made them each a Christmas Stocking for their first Christmas. And we've hung them up every year, ever since.
Now, when they got married, Peg did a couple extra things; she gave them each the original, and then made another one for us to hang up at Christmas, which we started doing when we moved into a house with a mantle upon which to hang them.
When they got married, and when grandkids came into the family, she made up one for each of them, too. And, finally, if you'll note the one at the far end of the mantle, it's just labeled "Grand Dogs". Peg doesn't want anybody left out, you know.
SECRET: Tomorrow morning, they'll each be stuffed with treats like apples, oranges, M&M's, Doggy-Treats for the dogs, etc.
Somehow, I think Jesus would approve.
We've got a new tradition this year, even. When someone tell me "Happy Holidays", I always wish them the same, and tell them it's even OK to wish me "Merry Christmas!". Which they always do, without exception! WOW .. what a neat opportunity to bring up what we're celebrating, and the merchants and the clerks and the like are even bringing it up so we can mention Him.
We stopped sending cards out some years ago. We have a lot of friends here, and it's easy to mention Christmas, and extend our wishes to them, when we see them during December. I'd rather have someone do that, any day, in person, than send me a card that I never know what to do with on 12/26 or thereafter.
Or, come to think of it, once I've read it......
Oh, we don't neglect folks. Peg is an avid fan of Cable Telephone .. she calls all her sisters and their families, and other friends she keeps in touch with, all the time. I'll take keeping in regular touch, over an almost-anonymous-card in the mail once a year, any time.
I have to think Jesus approves of keeping up friendships. He sure did when He had supper with Levi and his friends.
Do merchants cross some lines in "using Christmas for profit"? Sure. And we may not like that, but you and I cross our own lines, too, and we're holding ourselves out to be followers of the Saviour; Disciples of the Most High God.
At least Wal-Mart doesn't do THAT.
We celebrate Christmas. And if it's too much work, or too much expense, or too hectic, well, so what? Can you think of a better cause, than the celebration of the one Whose name we claim?
Bring it on, world. We're ready.....