“All went to be taxed…”
How many times I have read this with sober concern, but today I smiled at the practical interpretation that came to my mind. I have special insight into what makes the holidays special to so many. It is women. They bake, they cook, they shop, they sew, they clean. They work hard on the dramas and the music. They write notes and cards to distant relatives and friends. They pack baskets of food and gifts of goodies to share with those they love. And, of course, this is all in addition to their usual 24-hour-a-day job. How taxing the holidays can be!
Disrupted schedules, stringing lights, standing a tree, extra dress up occasions, extra company and extra expense can make the holiday taxing for men, too.
With all this added tax . . . Don’t miss Christmas!
The pots and pans will soon be empty. The wrapping paper will be crumpled and cast aside. Decorations will be packed away for another year. Friends and relatives will all go home. Bills will eventually be paid. Holidays come and go. Christmas is eternal.
Christmas is the greatest gift ever given. For the stress of the season to dull our joy for this gift would be much like a child who prefers to play with the wrapping paper and ribbon, ignoring the gift it brought.
At the first Christmas season those who were sensitive to the event worshiped and were blessed. Mary’s soul magnified the Lord. The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God. Wise men fell down and worshiped Him. Old Simeon held the infant Jesus and worshiped God. Anna, the wise widow, gave thanks unto the Lord.
Too busy with the seasonal stress to be sensitive, the innkeeper missed the opportunity to be among the first worshiper. Could Herod have been the fourth king if he had not been so troubled and too busy with his own plans and affairs? Don’t miss the marvel of Christmas in its profound simplicity.
Relieve the strain of the holidays. Sing with joy at any moment. Look at the stars and pause to wonder. Snuggle a baby in your arms and give thanks. Comfort a stranger. Give a gift of expressed appreciation. Surprise someone with words of affirmation. Capture again a child-like heart.
It’s Christmas! Emmanuel – God with us.
That’s what really matters.