This year it so happens that we do not have a commitment to visit either my family or my husband’s family for Christmas, and so after fighting off many deeply-rooted prejudices and pre-conceptions, and afer much personal wrestling with unfounded fears and superstition, we have decided to do the unthinkable, the unforgivable, the irreverent: we are going away on holiday to sunnier climates during the Christmas season.
I have had to face my own fears and superstitions as I said just now, and I also had to fight my children’s misconceptions that one cannot possibly spend Christmas where there are no cold temperatures and snow. No sir, that is not what Christmas is supposed to be. Christmas and having fun do not marry together. There has to be family confrontation, arguments, jealousy, illness, misery, obscene expenditure, over-eating, glitter and glamour, wastage and utter disregard for the true Christian Spirit by the mere fact that all good things end as we put our tree away til the next Christmas.
I must admit that up til not that long ago, that was my frame of mind with regards to going away on holiday at Christmas time. More fool me!
We are practically away for the whole Christmas period and so it makes sense to us to not even get the Christmas decorations out. It is hassle, and more work to have to catch up with on our return, so I am doing the sensible thing and keeping the whole fanfare in our loft for one more year. I feel ten years younger already just by writing that.
What is the meaning of it all? What is the point of all the fluff and outer layers of apparent warmth and endearment we coat our Christmases with? Who are we fooling? What is at the core of it all? I have been asking myself this a lot in these last few days. I can’t stand hypocrisy, shallowness and pretence. The worst culprits are us: Christians. The excess, abundance, gluttony, over-spending, luxury, total disregard for the needs of those who have nothing, all these terrible things which become even more visible and easy to observe in Christians at Christmas time than at any other time of the year. We preach one thing, we live out another. And then when it is all over, all the good intentions, the compassion, the mercy, the grace, the love, it all goes out of the window, just as easy as all the decorations were put up and taken down again.
And my question is: What is Christmas? No, seriously, what is it? If you are a Christian reading this as I am, wouldn’t you agree that each and every day we spend on this earth having accepted Jesus Christ into our life should be thought of as Christmas? Shouldn’t all our good qualities, virtues, good intentions and resolutions be a daily practice each single day we live on this earth? Isn’t each single day the day that the Lord has made? Do we not live with the same purpose each day of the year? Shouldn’t we? Why do all our Christian beliefs and convictions melt down with the snow, get put away in a box with our decorations until the next Christmas season? What is that all about?
As a Christian, I feel the absolute need to be stripped down bare, bare to the core of what it is that it means for me to follow Christ every single day of my life. Can you imagine what kind of place this world would be if we transplanted the way our heart and spirit are like at Christmas to every single other day of the year? Can you imagine the kind of witness that the Christian world would present to those who do not believe? I want to experience this Christmas without all the layers of pretence and adornment we embellish it with. I want to get to the nitty-gritty of how to live each day of my life as if it was Christ-mas, because it is.
Oh my gosh! It is true what my daughter said to me just the other day: I am turning into Scrooge……AND I LOVE IT. BRING IT ON JESUS! SHAKE IT ALL OFF, PEEL ALL THE LAYERS AND UNNECESSARY BAGGAGE THAT IS STOPPING ME FROM FULFILLING MY CHRISTIAN CALLING TO BE THE LIGHT AND THE SALT E-V-E-R-Y S-I-N-G-L-E D-A-Y O-F M-Y L-I-F-E
You may have recently read a post I wrote about our friend Burkhard Varnholt and the charity he founded years ago called Kids of Africa (http://www.kids-of-africa.com/you-can-help/house-renovation-campaign/). Well, due to the rain season and to termites, the beautiful houses built in the Kids of Africa village have been badly damaged and need repairing if they are going to be habitable. And so these repairs can only take place if people donate money. Yes, money does not solve all problems and it most certainly does not replace love, but in this situation we can most certainly show love to these orphan children by helping rebuild these wonderful houses they can now call their home. The cost of renovating one house which is inhabited by 10 people is US$2,000. My husband and I have worked extremely hard this year and God has honoured and blessed our commitment to the resources and skills he has equipped us with. None of it would make much sense to us unless we shared it with those who have nothing, so why don’t you join us in extending the Christmas spirit to the rest of the year by making a commitment to living this out every single day? Why not start by making a difference today?
I won’t wish you a merry Christmas but my wish for you is instead that you live each day as it is Christmas, because it is. The world will be a much better place for it and the light of Jesus will shine all the brighter for it in the darkest of places.
JUST LIKE THE FORMIDABLE SPECIMEN OF THE EAGLE WE TOOK A PICTURE OF LAST SUMMER (SEE THE HEADER OF THIS BLOG), I HOPE TO KEEP MY EYES FIXED ON THE ONE THING THAT TRULY MATTERS.
God bless you!