My wife and I have spent several Christmas' together. This year was no different that any other, and it all started sometime in June or July. See with my wife there is an inescapable joy she experiences when she gets to sing Christmas music.
Nearly the day after Christmas she dreads, because she knows eventually the radio stations will stop playing Christmas music. However, for her it goes deeper than simply being able to sing the songs, and during that time she knows that there is a reason that joy fills her heart.
It is the birth of Jesus that she gets to celebrate each year. We tend to forget that between all the mess, and madness that makes up the holiday seasons. We plan our holidays, vacations, and gift giving, but forget the phrase "remember the reason for the season."
Celebrate the Reason, Not the Season
Most Christians have their own reasons for not celebrating Christmas. It has become to mainstream (polluted), Christ was born in summer, to many rituals that have nothing to do with Christ, and so on. No matter how valid the reason, we should not lose sight of the reason we come together for Christmas. The first part of the word is in fact the reason, "Christ". We need to celebrate Christ on Christmas, not the season.
We should always celebrate Christmas in our hearts, with joyful song, and exuberant praise, much like my wife does every year. Sure she may take a few months break from singing the songs, but if it were entirely up to her, she would be singing year round. That is what we forget. The simple truth is that we should celebrate the birth, the sacrifice, and the resurrection of our Lord each day, because it is the reason that we are in fellowship with the Father.
Christmas may only come one time a year, but does that mean that God only acts in our lives once a year. As a believer do you only open your Bible once a year, and then lock it in a safe. I hope not. God gave Himself, and His Word, so that we could experience Him throughout our lives and in our lives. There are several verses on the idea of praise in the Bible, but the ones below tend to say it best, at least for me.
"O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise" (Psalm 51:15 ESV)
"Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you." (Psalm 63:3 ESV)
"My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed." (Psalm 71:22-24 ESV)
"Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is the fruit of lips that acknowledge His name." (Hebrews 13:14-16)
Time to Believe
Throughout the year I struggle in both prayer, and reading the Bible. I shouldn't but I do it is a face that I am not ashamed to talk about, but rather it is a struggle that I try to break. The same holds true for my spirit during Christmas, inevitably sometime in January I tell my wife to stop singing Christmas carols, because that season has passed. I am a stickler for things like that.
My wife, however, continually reminds me throughout the year that a gracious heart, and boisterous spirit for the Lord is what the season is about. We spend more time trying to make Christmas special for everyone on one special day, rather than carrying that spirit of giving throughout the whole year.
Where does your Christmas begin and end?