I think one reason I love Christmas so much is, it gives me an excuse to be happy. An excuse to get excited. An excuse to give stuff away. An excuse to tell the people I love how much they mean to me. An excuse to share smiles with strangers. An excuse to make the ordinary beautiful, and revel in that beauty. An excuse to thank God for wrapping divinity in flesh, for that piercing infant scream that was His whisper to the universe, I am with you.
It makes me wonder: Why do we need an excuse? Why do we need a special time of year to love, to give, to celebrate? We talk about the "Spirit of Christmas", but there's a much greater Spirit who lives and moves and breathes in us as God's children every single day. And everything I listed above should be a manifestation of it.
I understand that life is hard. I understand that we get jaded, drained. Believe me, I understand. But instead of viewing Christmas as a once-a-year ordeal, think of it as a reminder of how God intends for His people to live all the time. And no, for you cynics out there, I'm NOT referring to the greed and consumerism that unfortunately undermines the ideal in our society. I'm talking about the peace you feel when you've gathered in the living room with your family, the joy that comes with singing the familiar Christmas tunes that return to the radio like old friends, the unity that rises when you exchange holiday greetings with random passersby.
That's why God gave the Israelites festivals in the Old Testament, such as the Passover--to serve as a reminder, of both His goodness in the past and His promises for the future. To inspire them to keep pressing on, regardless of the twists and turns on this rollercoaster of life. And in Christmas, God has given us this opportunity, also--to remember the beauty of the life He has called us to.