Christmas – I Wish I Could Get Back to How Christmas Used to Be

Do you remember the days when you just couldn’t wait for Christmas to arrive? How exciting it was to see the first signs of Christmas, lights on houses and decorations in stores. What about now, do you still feel this way? Are you in the Spirit of Christmas? What does that look like and feel like for you? Maybe you’re just like the rest of us…Wishing You Could Get Back to How Christmas Use to Be.

In order to begin to return to the days when we enjoyed Christmas, it’s important to define it by asking this question; why Christmas and what did it mean to me?

My first response, like most, is what should be the obvious answer – the birth of Christ. After this initial answer, I stopped kidding myself as most people, including me, think of Christ very little doing the entire Christmas season. If we are truthful, we will be left with two ideas when answering why Christmas and what did it mean to me.
  • Christmas represents our attempt to do what’s right.

Allow me to explain it this way. It’s our attempt to erase a lifetime of wrong-doing in a matter of one Christmas season. During this season, we sometimes struggle to do good things and make things right as the best of who we are comes out.

  • Have you ever wondered why you try so hard to get it right?

We all want our Christmas to be perfect and each year it seems to falls short of our expectations of a perfect Christmas. Because we are imperfect and we have very high expectations of everyone, the result leaves us wanting more.

Have you ever considered why we feel we need Christmas? I have figured out the reason why I need Christmas. It’s because Christmas gives me a break. It’s a reminder that life can and should be better. At Christmas, hope and expectations of having all our dreams come true is greater at least for only one day.

Have you ever thought back to how Christmas used to be? I know I do. Every year at Christmas time. I think back to the days when I was a child and Christmas seemed like it took forever and a day to get here. So, I ask, what made Christmas so special for me when I was a child?
  • Many believe it was in the gifts received.
Think back and see if you can name the gifts you received 10 or more years ago…

How about 5-10 years ago…

Now try 3-5 years ago…

And how about the last 2 years…

To my surprise, there were very few gifts that stood out in my mind. How about you? What about the gifts you remember, did they make Christmas special for you? You would think if gifts made Christmas, then remembering the gifts would not be so difficult. So with that said, there must be something else to having the Christmas spirit.

Here’s a quote I ran across that sums up how some people seem to feel about Christmas today.

“As a child I use to run to the Christmas tree, now I run from the Christmas tree.” ~ Arthur Jackson

  • Many others believe it was the time or even our age.

If you believe that it was the time or your age that made Christmas, then what is the difference between today and the last memorable Christmas for you? Try thinking of the age you were when Christmas was at it’s climax for you. Having trouble pinpointing the year? Sure. I have concluded that the age wasn’t all that important either. So, where do we go from here…

When is Christmas the most significant? Christmas can be found to be most significant when we are in relationships with people who care for and about what we believe. As we age, we spend less time sharing our beliefs with others because frankly we are afraid to share our thoughts especially when they are different from others. As children, we do not have this issue. We share and share until we get others, especially parents, to believe what we believe, i.e Santa Claus and our Christmas wish lists.
Now we come to the understanding of why Christmas is a diminishing feeling for us. As we grow older, more and more people tend to not live up to our expectations. Instead they end up breaking all the rules, such as keeping their promises, staying true to their word, or just being selfish. Rules and expectations come from every direction and are harder and harder to keep. The bible gives us rules that we can’t keep. Our churches gives us rules and many times when we get those right they change so that we can’t get them right. Here are a few examples of the rules we have…

Biblical rules – 10 Commandments

Church Commandments:

I can’t drink.

I can’t smoke.

I must pay my tithe.

I must go to church every Sunday.

I must read my bible every day.

I don’t prayer enough.

and on and on and on…
No matter what the rules, we all are unable to keep them. Even when we think we’ve mastered the rules, the rules change and we have never done enough.
I know what you are thinking, where is the scripture. As you know, I always like to add Scripture to my messages.

(Romans 10:3 NLT) For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself.

Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law.

We don’t understand how God makes us right. We refuse to do it His way. Instead, we would rather do it the hard way -our own way – by trying to keep all the laws and rules placed on us.

How can I experience a better Christmas? To experience life differently, we have to get out of the boat -the place where everyone else is. I know you’re wondering what does this mean. I will show you by using Matthew 14:25, 28-33 NIV. I like using my creative thinking when I read this Scripture; everywhere I see “Jesus” I replaced His name with Christmas.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. (Matthew 14:25 NIV)

Maybe this forth night represents the latter part of your life or the last part of the season. No matter which, Christmas was coming upon them. They all were in the same place and experiencing the same life circumstance. They were in the same boat.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matthew 14:28 NIV)

Peter said Christmas if it’s you as if He couldn’t recognize Christmas. Can you remember how Christmas used to be? So Peter decided to do something differently than the rest and asked to join Christmas. He’d been in the boat with the rest and the situation was the same and not becoming any different. Does this sound like your Christmas or your life?

“Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:29 NIV)

Christmas is inviting you just like He did Peter to get out of the boat – the place where the rest were feeling like Christmas wasn’t there or able to change their situation.

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:30-31 NIV)

Christmas came to His rescue only when He left the others behind and made a move towards Christmas. It’s your move.

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:32-33 NIV)

Now here’s the good part, Peter and Christmas climbed into the boat together. Bringing Christmas into the boat not only allowed Peter to experience Christmas but gave everyone in the boat with him the opportunity to experience what Christmas could bring.

Now, it’s on you and me to bring Christmas back to the way it should be. We have to be the one to get out of the boat and take Christmas by the hand so that everyone we know can experience Christmas, the way it should be.

Merry Christmas!

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