Today I welcome Fay Lamb, author of the third chapter of A Ruby Christmas. I plan to follow Fay’s lead and focus on the most important tradition – reflecting on Jesus.
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”
Every year I suffer with what I call PCTSS (Pre-Christmas Traumatic Stress Syndrome).
Christmas is a very taxing for me. We’re all expected to smile while picking out the perfect Christmas tree, shopping for the perfect gifts, ensuring no one is left off the list, putting up the decorations, untangling the Christmas lights, baking cookies and making crafts, preparing for Christmas parties and church fellowships, caroling, and cooking that big Christmas dinner.
Whew, I’m tired just writing it out.
Just when you think you can relax and enjoy the holiday, the chairs are pushed away from the table, the gifts are loaded into the cars, and everyone goes home.
Christmas is over.
And you wonder what made you anxious after all.
Yearly, I tell myself that I’m going to relax and enjoy this special time. I plan on watching every Hallmark Movie Channel Christmas movie. I’m going to decorate the house in such a way that Southern Living will beg to take photos. The store can’t stock enough baking powder, brown sugar, chocolate chips, and baking soda for the cookies I plan to make—and remake when I ruin a few dozen batches.
That’s my thinking on the day before Thanksgiving.
I’m revved up to start everything on Black Friday—everything but the shopping. I leave that day to expert shoppers. I prefer the desperation of the retailers about two days before Christmas.
Then I wake up on Black Friday, and I find the name appropriate. I cover my head, and I don’t want to get out of bed—until January 2.
I put so much emphasis on the traditions of men that I forget the true Reason for this special season. I fail to stop and to listen to the distant echo of those angels who declared to the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
In those times when I’m tempted to hide my face away, I do as the shepherds had done. I pull out my Bible, and I read Luke’s account of Jesus’s birth. In essence, I follow the path of the shepherds, and I journey to Bethlehem to remember what the Lord has made know to us in His word: that there was a gift to mankind—the Babe in the manger—very God of Whom the Scriptures say: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Then I’m able to face the holiday realizing that the traditions of men are fine, and I’ll do what I can do and forget about the rest, but the most important tradition is that of reflecting upon Christ and realizing that without His birth, there would be no life.