"And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them "Be not afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord."
I was running late and forgot to pack my lunch/dinner. I was scheduled for the SportsCenter shift that was usually from 7:00pm-3:00am. Just as I was getting on the highway, there was a backup on 84 with bumper to bumper traffic. I knew I was going to be way later than I already was. When I got in, I immediatly looked at the schedule for Christmas week. Working. What?? I thought I asked for the day off? There must have been some kind of mistake. I asked my manager about the schedule. He said it wasn't a mistake and the only thing I could do is to make a switch with someone. Who would want to work on Christmas? It's not like this was a hospital or the police department. It was a television station. At this point in my life I was working at ESPN in the graphics department. I could only ask the people in my department who were trained in the same area of graphics that I was trained in or expertise (score boards for games, stats for the players etc). I finally got a "yes" from my Jewish co-worker who gladly said he would work for me. I was so thrilled and grateful for him that year.
Looking back at this time in my life, I am so glad I am not working there. If I was, I probably would be still be working holidays or least most of them until I reached senority. I did work some and most holidays the three years that I worked there. It was not worth the money or the fame to work at ESPN, and that's why I left. The long hours, working holidays, being away from family was not for me. I knew that there was more to life than that. I was in my mid twenties and was searching for meaning, for something more. Aren't we all? Christmas time is that time of year when people are searching for meaning. It is a time where people are more open to hearing about God and His love.
But, how many of us really, really know what Christmas is all about? It's not just about getting and giving presents to the people in our lives. Do we know that it is about God becoming one of us as a baby? Do we know that his birth was foretold by many of the prophets in the Old Testament? We just had the first Sunday of Advent. This is the time in the church when we prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The first Sunday is marked with the color purple where the priest is dressed in purple vestments. We light the 1st purple candle which is the Prophecy candle in remembrance of the Prophet Isaiah who foretold the birth of Christ. This is to give us Hope. On the Second Sunday, we light another purple candle which is the Bethlehem Candle and it represents Love, because God is Love. The third Sunday, we light the Pink Candle and it is the Shepherd's Candle. It is also known as Gaudette Sunday and it is to remind us of the joy that Jesus bring us. The fourth Sunday of Advent, we light the purple candle which is known as the Angel's candle and it is to remind of us Peace and how Jesus gives us Peace. All of the preperation and time bewteen the first Sunday of Advent until the time of Christmas is a time of waiting. It is not only a time of waiting for Christmas and a time to celebrate the Holiday, but most importantly, it is a time to wait for Christ to come into our hearts.
When we are waiting for something special to happen, whether it is a birthday, a Wedding, or a new baby, it's a time to prepare. What do we do when we prepare for these special events? Well, when we have a birthday party for someone, we clean the house, and make room for our guests. The same is true of preparation for Christmas. So, what does it mean to wait for Jesus to come into our hearts? It means that we need to get rid of the things that prevent Him from entering our hearts. We have to clean house. Clean up our souls (so to speak). We have to get rid of things that don't go together with peace or with love. Maybe we need to get rid of anger, maybe we need to forgive someone which harbors hatred. Maybe, we need to get rid of the addiction to drugs or alcohol. We need to get rid of these things because anger and peace do not go together, neither does hatred and love. It's like oil and water - they don't mix. Whatever we need to get rid of, we need to do it gradually. It is not an over night fix. This is why we have the season of 4 weeks to prepare. What Christmas is all about was summed up perfectly 57 years ago.
In "A Charlie Brown Christmas", Charlie Brown says " I just don't understand Christmas I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards and decorating trees and all that, but I am still not happy." He continues to ask " Is there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" and then Linus steps in and says " Yes, Charlie Brown. I can tell you what Christmas is all about.... and Linus continues explaining how there were shepherds in the field and then the angel of the Lord came upon them. For behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'" And Linus concludes with "And Charlie Brown, that is what Christmas is all about. And then we see all the Peanut Charcters dancing and singing.
In Conclusion: Jesus is the reason for the season. He makes it so much more merrier, more joyful, and more peaceful. Usually after the holidays, people get a "holiday blue" feeling because all that hype and excitement of the holidays are over. It can leave us with an empty feeling. The good news is, if you have Jesus in your life, you don't get the "Hoilday blues." There is "no let down feeling" because He keeps you having joy all year long. As one of our pastors once said, "Everyday should be Christmas."
About the Authour: Donna L. Marotto is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Faith Formation Coordinator/Youth Minister and Lay Franciscan. She provides spiritual/Christian Counseling and gives retreats at churches. If you would like to contact her, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at Youarelovedministry.com