Recently, three men were nervously waiting in the Father’s room at the Good Samaritan Hospital as their wives prepared to give births to their first children. The men were too scared to go in. Soon the head nurse arrived with good news from the birthing rooms. She said to the first father-to-be, “Sir, you are a father of twins!” ”That’s great,” he said. “I’m a baseball player and I am going to sign a contract with the Minnesota Twins. This will be good press.” Soon, the nurse arrived and said to the second father-to-be, “Sir, you are the father of triplets.” ”Fantastic,” he said, “because I work for the 3M Company. This will be great press.”
The third father-to-be got up and ran out of the room. He was moving so fast that he did not bother to take the elevator. Finally, the nurse yelled out the window as the man entered the nearby parking lot. The nurse cried out, “What’s wrong? Where are you going?” He said, “I’ve got to resign real fast. I work at 7-11.”
Maybe some of you can actually understand why the third father felt overwhelmed, at the same time some of you are rolling your eyes and shaking your head at how absurd his anxiety must be. His anxiety was based solely on what other people around him were doing.
Did you ever stop to think why Christmas seems to be the most stressful holiday of the year? Normal life is already busy and hectic as it is. Christmas puts normal life on steroids. During Christmas, you may feel the need to put up a tree somewhere in your living room. And if you’re really creative, you put up several other little trees just for good measure. Then you need to decorate the tree. If you really have the Christmas spirit, you then have to put up decorative lights. The more you put up, the better. Then you have to do more shopping with a million other people who have to do the same thing. Then you have to wrap the things you bought, and you have to take the time to make sure you do it nicely. After that you have a couple of hours to celebrate the gifts you just received, after which you spend the next couple of days standing in line with the same million people you were buying gifts with, so you can return some of the gifts you received. Some people try to do all these things in the span of one month. Those who are really busy with their regular life try to get all of these activities done in one week. No wonder Christmas can feel like the most stressful holiday of the year. Just when you think that things can’t possibly get any more stressful, try being the person or be part of the family that cannot do any of these things because they just don’t have the money this year.
I know some of you are thinking that another Pastor Scrooge is writing an article. And I very well may be barking up the wrong Christmas Tree here. I do understand that Christmas is not a Christian holiday and that Jesus is not born on December. But fantasize with me for a minute, what if Christmas was to celebrate Christ’s birth? What if we asked Christ how he would like us to celebrate His birth, I wonder what He would say?
Since this is just a fantasy, my guess would be just as good as yours. Maybe He would like us to celebrate His birth and His gift to us the way we’re celebrating it now…or maybe he would say:
“If I were to tell you the three most important things to me, they would be: 1. Your relationship with Me 2. Your relationship with your family, and 3. Your relationship with My body, which is My church. I would like you to celebrate My life not with the things that are important to you, but the things that are important to Me. So be creative. Use the brain I gave you to celebrate who I’m about and give priority to the things that are important to Me.”
I do wonder how different Christmas would be if during the month of December, we spend more time with God than any other month of the year. What if during the month of December, we make an effort to double the time we spend with our family than any other time of the year. I wonder what would happen if we become more active with our church family in December as our way of celebrating Christmas. Maybe then we would experience what it means to have “Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Men.” Too bad all we can do is fantasize about it.