Elvis wonders as he sings, “Why can’t everyday be like Christmas?” Certainly Christmas is filled with the hustle and bustle of busy calendars. And, yes, we often view the busyness as a burden. But, when we look closely, more times than not our calendars are filled with things we enjoy doing. If we didn’t think the dates were important we would just stay home.
Though we may feel rushed and a bit pushed, most of us secretly enjoy every minute of it. Christmas brings a time of special activities, special food and seeing people that we either don’t see very often throughout the year or that we get to see in a different light during the holidays. It isn’t often that people open their homes or have lunch gatherings like they do during Christmas.
People don’t typically open their bank accounts during the year like they do during Christmas. For the most part we cheerfully part with our money as we buy gifts for family and friends. We are on the lookout for kettles in front of stores where we can deposit change in our pockets and we hear people specifically ask about helping the less unfortunate. They look to share money, gifts, food and even time with those who find themselves in a difficult place during the Christmas season.
Is there a common theme on your calendar and in your checkbook during Christmas? Yes, it is sacrifice. During Christmas we are willing to be busier than other times of the year. During Christmas we are willing to share our homes and lives with others. During Christmas we are willing to offer a word of thanks or encouragement. During Christmas we are willing to look for those in need and act on that need. All of this requires sacrifice. During this brief season we are willing to inconvenience ourselves for the betterment of others.
Perhaps you’re wondering where we learned this. It doesn’t come naturally and I say it goes beyond the human spirit and a desire for goodwill. No, sacrifice is at the heart of Christmas. We see it best personified as God takes on flesh and comes in great humility to be born to a teenage virgin among the livestock on a night that causes angels to sing with joy. Sacrifice is best seen as God draws near to make a way for us to be with Him. Sacrifice is Christmas. Sacrificial love, service and generosity. It is the joy of Christmas.