My favourite part of the verses from Proverbs that I have noted this morning is the very last line:
"Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you."
What a comforting thought. A good line for your teenagers when lecturing them. A good thought for any of us, at any age, when ploughing through the mine fields of life.
I am planning to share some thoughts about Christmas here for the next few days leading up to Christmas. I do love watching the Christmas movies, most of which I have seen every year at this time. They are usually pretty because of Christmas decorations and lights. The sound good with familiar Christmas music in the background. They always have a happy ending... what's not to love about that!
One movie I watched this week was 'His and Her Christmas". It was about two journalists with opposing views about Christmas who would use their newspaper columns to voice their strong opinions. It eventually leads to a sparring match, and of course they fall in love and live 'happily every after'. It inspired me to record some of my own thoughts about Christmas.
So, what does that have to do with 'discretion and understanding'? Well, we all know that Christmas can be a difficult season for many people, for a lot of different reasons. And certainly the TV shows all dolled up pretty, the ads, the stores, the happy holiday songs put a lot of pressure on people to 'get with the program, get happy, shop, cook, drive around all over visiting relatives and friends, etc. etc. etc. etc.' Who can measure up to that ? Added to that pressure for the Christian is that we must fit extra church activities into the mix!
The solution is this: find out what Christmas is all about and how it got started! The festival which we now call Christmas was started long before Christ was born. Many countries would have their own festivals at this time of year, marking the winter solstace. The festivities would include many of the things we still do today, lights, parades, decorated trees, and other traditions. The Christians were not to be outdone by the rest of the world and so added Christ to these sorts of festivals and there you have it! Christmas! No one knows for sure when Christ was born but the church in Rome decided to set a date for that celebration, and December 25th was chosen.
So, if you can't 'get into it' don't feel badly. It is just a festival. Pick the parts you like and throw the rest of it out the window! Set your own standards. Style your own Christmas to suit you and your family!
Understanding what the Christmas season is all about (just a festival) with guard you, and release you from some of the pressures. Using your discretion at this time of year will protect you from too much spending, too much eating, too much socializing, and just 'too much' everything!
For the next few blogging days before Christmas I am going to share some things I like about Christmas and some fun little Christmas stories from my past. In the meantime let me encourage you Christians out there who are feeling pressured to "remember the REAL meaning of Christmas".... don't feel badly. If you ARE a christian already, you are not MORE of one at Christmas than any other time of the year. Christ does not all of a sudden become important at Christmas, he is important all the time. We celebrate what he means to us each and every day, not just one day of the year!