Some years ago in mid-November I was listening at home to Bethany playing the piano. She had progressed from simple to more complex music and was trying to play Christmas songs, working hardest on, “What Child Is This?” She is the youngest of our children and usually the first to bring up Christmas, as she did that year. As early in the season as it was, the stores were even earlier. Most people have figured out why the stores prepare us so soon for Christmas; it’s their most profitable time of the year. They need the sales. They’re trying to milk it for all they can get. That’s OK, it’s just good business. Of course, good business will emphasize Santa Clause and gift giving more than Jesus Christ and God coming in the flesh to save us. The trouble is, we who have been saved by Jesus Christ know we should keep Him as the reason for the season, but we get caught up in the world’s focus anyway. We start shopping before Thanksgiving, and some I know, whom I dearly love, start much sooner. One year Seth asked if we could put up the outside lights in early November while it was still warm. Not such a bad idea, but I just couldn’t do it. In my mind that would undermine the importance of Thanksgiving, which the world cares little about anyway because there is not much money to be made from it. The world wants us to get the Christmas season going as soon as possible. The more we prepare, the more we spend. Well, there is the outside decorating and the inside decorating.

It’s nice and all, but look at the money and time we sink into it. And those gifts, they have to be just right. That takes time and money. Becky and I have, in the past, taken out the twelve month savings plan at the bank to be able to afford it. Don’t forget all it takes to send out those Christmas cards. I’m trying to deemphasize them. Then, there are the parties to go to, buy food for, and more, sometimes much more. Add all the church and religious activities to that list and you have quite a buildup to De­cember 25th_ There’s no way the arrival of that day can live up to the preparations and expecta­tions that lead up to it. No wonder so many kids fly through their presents and are irritable the rest of Christmas day. For many it’s quite a let-down. Christmas can’t live up to the world’s ex­pectations. Now, I know we should enjoy all those preparations as a part of Christmas and not expect that one day to satisfy. But the fact is, many people are depressed after the holidays and take weeks to come out of it. How might we improve that situation? The answer is simple. Scale down the money and time involved in preparation, and focus more on Jesus Christ. Remember, He was born in a sta­ble. When we put our expectations in Him, we will always be satisfied! Jesus will never disap­point us! He can live up to His billing! “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalm 37:4).

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