It’s sort of unusual. Someone famous passes away and for about a day, it’s front page news! People will talk about that person; where they knew them from and how much they enjoyed, (or otherwise) that person. Come the next day, it’s a whole new game! For those that really knew that person, it’s heartbreaking, and for those who knew “of them” they are sad for a day. Day after day, life goes on and no man is found sitting still and doing nothing, because time waits for no man, right?
Have you ever gone on the net and searched for the statistics of how many people die each and every day, all around the world? You would be amazed, to say the least! Now take a moment and search for how many babies are born each and every day around the world. Again, you will be amazed. And it would appear that life simply rolls along, some coming into the world and some leaving the world.
Try going to the obituaries of some obscure town, one you have never been to, pick out a name. Do you feel anything, good, bad or indifferent? What you are missing is that someone is hurting today, because a loved one passed on. Someone is making funeral arrangements for that person, crying real tears, someone’s heart is breaking. What is truly sad, we only think of the famous who have passed away, and we forget those that are not famous and so, we miss the real tragedy. Yes, I know, if we felt sad for everyone that was passing away, we would never have time to be happy. I get it! Ya know what would be even worse? To pass away and have no one there because no one cared, no one cried. As December 2013 begins, who in their right mind would want to contemplate these things, I mean we’re looking at Christmas, right?
Well, statistics for the United States show that a great many of the people that pass away, do so around these holidays; Thanksgiving and Christmas. Does this make you want to understand, why? It is true, people pass away every single day of the year, so why is it so important or even news worthy to take note during this time of the year? Maybe it’s because we look at this time of the year as more family oriented and we reflect on the holidays in our youth. If nothing else, it makes real, our mortality! During the festive time of the year we look back to our youth, and at the same time we remember those who are no longer here with us, how many passed away this time of the year.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-9, tells us there is a time and a season for all things, even to be born and a time to die. Sad as it may be, this is life! It includes death, as well as birth! Here we are getting ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. We see the baby Jesus in the manger, yet we forget that this same baby, who is God, grew up, became a man and then died for you and me on a Roman Cross. One thing I have never understood is this: Why is it that we pay so much attention to Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ and yet we play down Easter, when this same Jesus Christ was crucified for you and me? Somewhere in my head, I feel it ought to be the other way around!
Polls and statistics will bear me out, that we like the birth more than we like the death of anyone! We as a society like to celebrate the youth of our peoples and we abhor the “Golden Years” or the passing away of anyone.
We work so very hard all year long, we save and put money away to spend at Christmas, we like to say, “For the kids” but we all know that is not entirely true. We must think of the cost of the festive meals, beginning with Thanksgiving and then we must look forward to Christmas, which is even more expensive. We have all the visions in our head about a “White Christmas,” the music, the shopping, the carols, the wrapping of gifts, the Christmas tree.
And then the big day comes and the flurry of excitment of opening the gifts, eating the Christmas meal…and then it’s all over! Christmas passes on like every other day and we feel like we can take a big breath and sigh. Then we are back to talking about it, for a day or two, then we’re right back to where we were this time of the year, last year. Ready to do it all over again, at the end of this year! And looking forward to what happens this time, again next year! WHAT?
Is any of this making any sense to you, or is it just me? We have enjoyed many past Christmas holidays in years past and the last Christmas was probably better than those days, so we want to make sure that this next Christmas will be even better. Better than what? Do you ever get the idea that we are making ourselves sick over Christmas, beginning with Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the sales (really?), the running here and there and we just have to get this or that, the crowds, all the fuss and fighting, the traffic, burglaries and other crime that happens this time of year. I’m already worn out just thinking about it! And we haven’t even begun, well…except for those that started six months ago, you know who you are (chuckle, chuckle).
Oddly enough, I remember the farm my grandparents had on Orcus Island. They had cherry trees that lined both sides of that little dirt road to their house, from the Old Olga Road. The trees were so big their branches overlapped the trees on the other side and created a sort of a tunnel. Can you imagine this, with fresh snow everywhere? For me THAT was Christmas, twinkling new snow on the ground everywhere, the crisp cold air, the pine scent from the pine forest all around. A small farm with a big old style house and a chicken coop in front and a big red barn out back, with a wood shed full of logs and kindling.
Then I smell that old potato soup on a wood burning stove inside a warm home calling to me. I run out of the cold, kicking off my boots and hanging up my coat, walking in and there is my entire family sitting around a big table. Suddenly…I belong, I am happy, I am safe, I am home! And to think, it’s still Christmas time! No pain, no strain, no muss or fuss! We bow our heads and thank the Lord for this time together, for this food we are about to enjoy together, we kneel before the Lord, thanking HIM for giving us this time together! THAT my friends…is Christmas!
So here I am, sitting here writing this about all who used to be around that table, those who are gone, passed away and all I have now are the memories. Still as yet, I enjoy those times over and over again. I still wonder what that has to do with all the stores, the sales, Black Friday, running all over the place with so little time left, all the hurrying, all the buying, all the stress and strain. I truly believe we have forgotten Ecclesiastes 3:1-9, there is a time for all things and we have forgotten what is real and what is not, we have before and we are now, forgetting what Christmas is truly all about.
Jesus Christ is all about bringing us together, as one family under HIM. HE provides the atmosphere, the joy and the contentment, the giggles and the happiness, essentially HE is the reason for all the festivities! Is it or is it not the celebration of HIS birthday? If indeed you agree, that it is HIS Birthday, shouldn’t we be celebrating it…according to what HE wants it to be? It is then evident, we all have missed the point!
We are way too busy making the retailers rich and ourselves poorer, when the real Christmas has nothing to do with that. We are missing the point, because we are too busy thinking of ourselves, than to be praising HIM for this time of year and for our current condition in life. As we spend all this time rushing around, doing this and doing that, preparing for Christmas, way too many are looking at an empty chair, an empty crib, clothes that will never be worn again, toys that will never be played with again. Even worse, a single solitary wedding band, sits alone on someones dresser, never to be worn again. I am going to say it again, people…we are missing the point! Life must still go on!
Christmas and Thanksgiving were never meant to be playing out the way it is today! These days are meant to be lived and enjoyed with family, with singing and Praise of the Lord, because there will be times when they won’t be happy. There will be times of sorrow, pain and crying, feelings of loss every time the holidays come around. There are those left alone in nursing homes with nothing but memories to sustain them. Hospitals full of children that may not get home for Christmas and even some that will not see another Christmas.
Statistics show this time of year there are more heart attacks than any other time of the year. But how many are thinking of these people? People just like you who want to live and feel loved and cared for just like you! How many will eat this Christmas alone, remembering how things used to be, but no one is left? I truly believe that those who are alone are the people we should be caring for this time of the year and every other day in the year.
John 13:34-35: “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”