Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Keeping the "Merry" in Christmas

adjective, mer⋅ri⋅er, mer⋅ri⋅est.
1. full of cheerfulness or gaiety; joyous in disposition or spirit: a merry little man.
2. laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous; hilarious: a merry time at the party.
3. Archaic. causing happiness; pleasant; delightful.

Among many people, mainly Christians, the popular phrasing this time of year is "keep the Christ in Christmas".  And while I completely agree with this idea, I think we forget about the other part of "Merry Christmas".

How many of us have been frustrated by long lines and crowds?  A few days ago my family and I drove down to the local mall to shop and see Santa (my kids are 7 and 8).  The traffic was utterly horrible and set me on edge pretty quickly.  The mall itself wasn't too bad, but we waited in the Santa line for almost an hour and only making it half-way before we got tired of it and talked our kids into leaving.  The longer the day went on the worse the moods of my wife and myself became.  And honestly, we were probably among the nicer of people out and about for the holiday.  All of us have seen people behave in a very unfriendly and even hostile way during the Christmas season.  We've also all seen reports on TV of people being trampled and fighting each other in the search for the hottest toy or gadget of the season.  We talk a lot about the "Christmas spirit" and then lament when so many people loose this spirit, as seems all too common.

This is the season in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.  For Christians, this should be one of the greatest times of year.  While Easter may be the culmination of Jesus's Earthly mission, Christmas is the time of His birth.  All of the songs and stories around the birth of Christ are centered around celebration.  This is a season to be happy and joyful because of what it means to us.  If we're really going to keep Christ in Christmas, then we need to not just say it, but also embrace what Christ really means.  Never forget that the birth of a baby is always a joyous and miraculous event with people crying in joy and celebrating.  Shouldn't the birth of the savior of all mankind be even more joyous?  And isn't that the real meaning behind "merry".

So as you spend time with family and finish any last-minute shopping, don't forget to be Merry.  Doing so will celebrate the season more than anything else you can do.

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