Zechariah 7:4-6 God sent this message: "Say to your people and your priest, 'During that these seventy years of exile, when you fasted and morned n the summer and in early autumn, was it really for me that you were fasting? And even now in your holy festivals, aren't you eating and drinking just to please yourselves?"
The people of Bethel had just ask God "Should we continue to morn and fast each summer on the anniversary of the Temple's destruction, as we have done so for many years?"... this was God's answer. If we ask God should we continue to celebrate Christmas would he say the same to us? Sadly I believe that he would... we have let consumerism define what Christmas is...and it is more, more, more!... It often breaks a family...many people will pay for this Christmas well past next Christmas...we spend so much time shopping and buying that we are exhausted when we finally get together... one time when we were at my Dad's house for Christmas...my step mom raised her voice as she worked hard in the kitchen, she was tired and frustrated... somebody shouted out "Well now it's Christmas!"... because the frustration and exhaustion were so much a part of that day that the outburst was expected.... and I can see this scene playing over in many get together as we try to achieve the "commercial" version of the moment.... in some places here in the United States, where we ran to so we could worship God, people can't even say Merry Christmas... it has become Happy Holidays.... I do believe God would say the same thing to us... he might just say "Is this celebration, of my Son's birthday, really about Him...about my gift to you? Aren't you eating and drinking and giving presents just to please yourselves?".... I am guilty!!... I hope that I get the perfect present for my people... as much as for me, so I will have done it right and everybody will love me... I get tired and frustrated in the mad rush to do it all...then I am happy it's over!... I have enjoyed seeing people!!...being with my family... I stop and reflect for a while on how much I love everybody and I am happy we are all together...but did I stop, really stop and say "Happy Birthday Jesus!"... I have had the thought as I watched TV.... or shopped in the madness ... "Don't people remember what Christmas is suppose to be about?"...then I go about my business forgetting and shopping and hoping that I have bought "enough." The truth is no matter how much I spend I can't change any body's life.... but what life can I can we change if we make a true effort to celebrate Jesus at Christmas...if we take more than a moment to remember the season... if we buy less but with more love...if we stop and say "Thank you God" each time we open a present... lets take time this year to stop and remember to truly celebrate the perfect wonderful Gift from God.... and next year...when we start the shopping lets shower the people in the stores and restaurants, at work, at home...lets shower them with love and kindness as we get ready to celebrate... and if we are getting stressed and irritable lets see that as a sign, a reminder to slow down, do less and love more..so that this Celebration of Christmas will make God smile.