Oh, my. Reading all of the things that put you in the Christmas spirit really left me feeling encouraged and hopeful. Thank you for sharing! I'm loving this exchange of ideas. Does anyone mind if I use some of your ideas in a future post?
Idea #2: Get to Know the Guest of Honor
I really like to celebrate.
I mean, really. I'm not so good at the gifts thing, but celebration? I can do that. I'll bake a cake or throw a party, write a card, a tribute, plan a few events...
Birthdays are one of my favorite kind of celebrations. At some point during my childhood, I requested a birthday cake for Jesus. While a cake may have been baked a different year, the Christmas I am remembering came without birthday cake. It's understandable, really. With so much to prepare for during the holiday season, a cake is not something that is usually at the top of the list.
I wasn't terribly upset, but as young as I was, even then I thought that a morning covered in wrapping paper, anxious waiting for the next gift, and piles of gifts for me seemed a strange way to celebrate someone else's birthday.
Not that I didn't like gifts. I did...and I do.
But when I want to celebrate someone, I usually try to nail down what that person likes, doesn't like, what he or she might want to do, what triggers that "I feel special" button, who should be invited to the party.
I try to wrap my mind around who that person is...even if I think I already know.
I can't say I'm always successful, but I do try.
I'm thinking you do, too.
When it comes to Jesus' "birthday," I think it's important that you and I at least try to wrap our minds around who he was.
I'm convinced that Jesus could really stand to get some new PR representatives... and that if we really tried to get to know him (and really tried to ignore all kinds of misguided Christian labels), we just might like him.
When I try to get to know him, what I see is that he was all for the underdogs. They were his friends, his dining buddies, the people he hung out with. Not in a "this is going to look great on my resume" or "everyone is going to think I'm really great" kind of way. To me, Jesus didn't seem particularly concerned with what people thought of his choices; he just lived them without apology.
Sometimes I think that more people would be interested in Jesus if it wasn't for "Christians." I count myself as one, but I have a hard time using that term. "Christian" is such a tough word these days; it seems more like a political and marketing term, more than anything else. I believe that Jesus is who he said he was- is there a better term for that?
I'm not suggesting that those who believe Jesus try to change any one's minds.
I'm suggesting that we change ourselves.
I am suggesting that, if we really want to celebrate, we live in such a way that we are much better representatives of who Jesus was and is.
I'm suggesting that, like Jesus, we make friends with and meet the needs of underdogs.