Keeping Christ in Christmas is About Much More than Words.

Life is not easy. I know that keeping Christ in Christmas is much harder than buying a $5 magnet. I will buy and display the magnet, but that is just the beginning of a big compromise. Am I up for the challenge?

I enjoy Christmas parties, but I know very well that in none of those parties Christ is mentioned. The focus is on the food, attendees, and even dress such as those “ugly Christmas sweater” theme parties. Alcohol plays a good part during some Christmas events and that is great until… too much? Might as well just call them holiday parties! But the magnet is on display in my car outside. Oops.

Let’s be honest. Chances are we spend a lot of time thinking about that jolly old man and less time thinking about the one whose birthday we are celebrating. I know I do unless I make daily efforts to focus on the real story.

I remember the traditional Christmas Posadas in Mexico. Some local churches organize them. These are instances where reenactments of Christ’s birth and nativity scenes are the focus of the party. Tamales and *Champurrado are traditional menu items. Why not plan to attend one or plan one at home?

How many acts of charity will I make this Christmas season? Will I remember those in need and do something about it instead of focusing on the Christmas menu and decorations. I want my house to look amazing. Do I aspire to impress friends and neighbors and spend a good amount of time and money looking for design inspiration? Newsflash to myself; Jesus Christ was born in a humble manger empty of flashy decorations. No parties, no feast, just love. Tons of love. I know this but I conveniently forget. “Keep Christ in Christmas,” says on the magnet.

When shopping and driving I sense an anxious frenzy and not always a friendly one. People in a bad mood. I try to smile, and I’m surprised at some reactions. But the compromise is to love one another and bear with one another so I keep smiling albeit someone pushing me with a shopping cart. There are many stories out there about the pressures of the season and about depression and maxing out credit cards. None of those come from keeping Christ in Christmas I promise you.  Our savior is born and here I am upset about a cashier who is taking forever! How do I treat store employees, coworkers, and family members?

I need to spend less time focusing on the gifts I wish I could buy and cannot afford, and more time thanking God for His blessings. I can assure that most of you reading this post have so much to be grateful for; I know I do.

At home, a nativity should be much more important than a Christmas tree. It should be placed in a more prominent place. I need to talk to my granddaughter more about baby Jesus and less about snowmen, reindeers and the big-bellied old man. When did candy canes, winter wonderlands, mistletoes become a Christmas thing?

Honestly, I think that red-coated, red-cheeked man should crash another birthday party or create one of his own. I’m tired of this and didn’t realize how much until I sat down to write this post. I belong to the Center for Latino and Jewish Relations and I’ve come to admire how Jews keep religious celebrations from the media and consumerism. They treat these religious events with utmost respect and relevance. In my humble opinion, Christians have allowed too much to filter into our greatest celebration.

Don’t’ get me wrong, I love holiday celebrations and the splendor of it all, but I think we should leave those for another occasion.

Let’s keep Christ in Christmas. For real.

*Champurrado is a chocolate-based atole, a warm and thick Mexican beverage, prepared with either masa de maíz, masa harina, or corn flour; piloncillo; water or milk; and occasionally containing cinnamon, anise seed, or vanilla. Ground nuts, orange zest, and egg can also be employed to thicken and enrich the drink.

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