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Has it happened to you yet? If it has, you'll know what I'm talking about. If it hasn't, you should be glad- and try to make sure it doesn't.
I'm talking about being bit by the bah-humbug. It's a Christmastime illness that usually hits in your early teens, and most people make no attempt to get better. Here's what happens:
You enter into December with anxiety and a sense of dread. You're more irritable, stressed, and you can't wait until all the holiday hullabaloo is finally finished. Finding the perfect gifts for everyone (how can we pay for all this anyway?), attending all the parties and performances, fighting crowds and traffic, and dealing with family helps you see Scrooge in a whole new light.
Can I ask you to do something? Think back on what Christmas was like as a child. Try and string together a few highlights from the family album- and my guess is that your attitude has slowly but surely changed from fascinating wonder to frantic worry.
Oh I know, you just 'grew up'...right? Plus back then you didn't have all the pressure that you are under now. You were just a kid, and kids are duped until the materialistic truth about Christmas hits them over the head like a chimney descending Santa hits the fireplace.
"Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go?"
Faith Hill: "Where Are You Christmas?"
I have some news for you... you weren't duped until you gave up on the spirit of Christmas. That's when holidays became a pain instead of a pleasure, and in all of your 'maturity', you were the one that let go of Christmas- not the other way around.
As a matter of fact- the older you get, the more excited you should be around this time of year- because you understand more and more as time goes by how awesome and indescribable is the gift of Jesus Christ.
In other words, if you have a hard time finding joy during the celebration of the coming of Christ, then Bethlehem- we have a problem.
Have you ever heard the story of Simeon? Many Christmas stories overlook him, but he has a fascinating story:
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I've seen your salvation;
it's now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel. (Luke 2:25-32)
Here's an older gentleman who must have been as giddy as any child who has ever lived. He waited his entire life for the first Christmas- and when it came, it was the greatest moment of his life. Seeing the coming of the Messiah caused him to break out into a blessing to God.
When's the last time you broke out in praise around Christmastime?
If the 'burdens' of Christmas are starting to weigh you down- maybe it's time you took advice from the Reason for the Season Himself:
For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. (Matthew 18:2-4)
That's right- resurrect your childhood feelings about Christmas- or if you don't have positive ones, then start over! Here are a few things to get you started:
If we as Christians don't demonstrate their excitement about the Christmas season- why would anyone believe the Christmas message? So make the most out of the remaining time to let the Light of the world shine through your attitudes, actions, and words. Squash the bah-humbug and show those around you that with Christ, it really is a wonderful life!
Dare 2 Share is a church assisting ministry that provides resources for youth leaders and equips teens to relationally and relentlessly reach their generation for Christ. Over 1,400 of these resources are provided completely FREE! D2S also conducts nationwide youth evangelism training conferences. The events are structured for students in junior high and high school, ranging from 12 to 18 years old. Regardless of gender or denomination, D2S teaches from a Christian perspective. D2S is based in Denver, Colorado and has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 teens since 1991.
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