by Gary McHale - The Regional
December 22, 2009
It is understandable that Christmas is so popular as it is the time of year for family and friends and the giving of gifts.
The business community loves Christmas with all the purchasing of gifts, decorations, cards and the travelling to visit people. In many offices it is a time to have a few days off, a company Christmas party and maybe a bonus cheque from your employer - unlikely for many this year.
Christmas has evolved around children. Which one of us didn't get excited by the presents, the decorating of the tree, the lights, the extra tasty treats and the many classic cartoon shows.
However, even the Grinch had to come to terms with the fact that Christmas is more than presents, decoration, the singing and the 'who-pudding'.
I would be amiss if I didn't point out that Christmas should have a special meaning for those in Haldimand County and in Caledonia. Most of us live quite predictable lives where we come to believe we are the masters of our own destiny. We have put our hopes and our faith in the material things of this world which are here today but gone tomorrow.
Christmas is about Jesus and a promise that is beyond our simple lives of going to work, buying a home, having 2.25 children and retiring at age 55.
What happens when our world view and our view that we are in control of our own daily lives suddenly comes crashing down because events outside our control challenge the very foundations we have placed so much trust in?
We live in a great country that has developed some great principals of justice but even these things are here today and gone tomorrow. Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms is written on mere paper and as we have seen is granted to us at the whim of the police and government.
We walk around believing that things happen in other parts of the world but not in Haldimand. We put our trust and our faith in our leaders and the system we have created.
Jesus said to store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where thieves cannot break in and steal them.
I know there will be people who will stop reading this editorial by now because Christmas is to be a time of peace, fun, presents, singing and everything nice so why spoil it with talking about serious issues which only bring negative vibes.
The true meaning of Christmas includes a serious self-reflection upon the state of a person's soul. Even Mr. Scrooge had to come to terms with his own mortality and his pending doom.
There are many responses people have when they are forced to face the reality that mankind isn't as peaceful and loving as we have believed. Some want to hide from the truth while others want everything to be quiet so they can make money. Others don't give a damn because it doesn't directly affect them while many of those who are affected resort to drinking in order to drown their fears.
However, Christmas is God's response to the evils of mankind. When God looked down and saw the pain and suffering of children being abused, saw the torment of those who were sexually abused and witnessed the fears of those who were being murdered, His response was Christmas.
Christmas isn't for the peaceful law abiding person but for vile sinners.
God's response was to have his son born in a manager, not in a palace, knowing full well that mankind would take Him, curse Him and finally crucify Him.
The angels proclaimed 'Peace on Earth and good will to all men' to a world filled with hate and anger from past abuses.
We may see ourselves, our town and our country as peaceful and quite civilized but one spark reveals just how quickly human nature takes over and produces chaos.
The Christmas message provides the solid ground on which you can place your hopes and faith in. God is not like a man who promises to be there for you and jumps ship at the first sight of hard times.
Jesus came in the midst of the hard times to demonstrate God's commitment to you. Jesus' death ensures that there is no price too high for God to pay to live up to that commitment.
As you can see Christmas is a serious time that is wrapped up in rejoicing because of the greatness of God's gift to each one of us. And if God could give such a great gift to you and me then why can we not give good gifts to each other? If God is willing to forgive us our sins then why can we not forgive other people their sins?
It is easy to say these words but quite another to live them and believe them. This is why our society has turned Christmas into everything BUT the reason for the season. God is replaced by Santa Claus, and the gift God gave, His Son, is replaced by turkey, stuffing and the latest high-tech toy.
There is nothing wrong is reaching for that second piece of pumpkin pie or adding a little extra gravy to your mashed potatoes but unless you take the time to feed your soul then you will have missed Christmas completely.
This year take the time to be truly thankful - not just for the material goods you have but for the gift of God's Son.
This year take the time to stop and pray for that family member or your neighbour who is so hard to get along with.
But mostly this year remember to stop and reflect upon the true meaning of Christmas, of a God who would send His Son to you to die for you. Christmas is about remembering the greatness of man's need and the gift that God provided.
In that you can trust because no man can take it away.