A few days from now our trash bags will be overflowing with brightly colored, torn, and ripped wrapping paper. All the gifts that we have been hiding and waiting to give or picked up last minute through Amazon Prime (let's just be honest) will have been given to their respectful recipients. Tummies will hopefully be full, but not too full of all the deliciousness that happens when family kitchens collide. Children will have already unleashed their toys from the plastic bondage that has kept them captive just for them and searched the house for every available battery since they always come separately. The stockings will resume their form of the flat socks that they were before anything was stuffed into them and the Christmas tree will be reveling in its last few hours of relevancy. The aftermath of the Christmas day festivities is a lot like the moment you finish an exciting amusement park ride. We think to ourselves "Wow, that was a lot of fun! Now what's next?"
Now just for clarity's sake, this mindset begins long before the climax of Christmas. The holiday season starting with Thanksgiving has a way of molding us into this way of thinking. The feelings of love and good cheer start around the table when we are overeating and understanding what really matters to us. Then it's a mad dash from one fall festival to a Christmas program to a Christmas party to a gift exchange to caroling to etcetera (you get the idea). Then we finally arrive at a few days before the big day that was described above, which means a lot of traveling if your family is like ours. It's enjoyable going to the different sides of the family and seeing people we only see once or twice a year. All the while though in the back of our heads we are thinking "What's next?" How many more gifts do I need to get? Do we have all the ingredients for the meal? When are we doing Christmas with them? If we aren't careful we can spend our whole Holiday season looking forward to the next thing on our to-do list and forget completely about what has already happened. This to-do list daze can make us lose sight of the real reason for the season.
Most of us know what happened two thousand years ago and the wonderful gift that was given in a little animal's lean-to. A prophecy was fulfilled with the Savior being born and there were a few men that found out about it while they were checking off their to-do lists as well.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
There was no shame in what the shepherds were doing, just as there is no shame in our habits of the holidays either. Things need to be done and there are many wonderful moments that we can have throughout this time of year. With that being said, we should make it a priority to celebrate the reason for the season well before we have a reminder from those that are modern day angels and do the Lord's work (Your Pastor, Minister, Sunday School teacher, Mother, and many other servants that don't do it for the credit). We are blessed to have busy lives that are filled with moments where memories are made and then remembered for a lifetime. Let's not forget throughout all of those instances the baby that was born, so that we could then be saved. Give good will toward your fellow man and woman, but make sure you give the glory to God first.