It has begun – the shopping frenzy, the decorating, the wrapping and the planning.  Parties are being scheduled, children’s events are being rehearsed and the gift list is being written, shopped for and checked off.  I love Christmas!  I hope you are enjoying the Advent book.  If you didn’t get a hard copy, you can download it from the website for free.  Or you can go to the website of First15, our daily devotional, to find that day’s Advent article along with resources for worship and guided prayer.  It is important to keep the holiday in the proper perspective.  This season is about the birth of Christ and a whole lot more.

If you need any help with your shopping ideas, feel free to check the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog.  As usual, they have some doozies!  There is a special gift from the book that I found intriguing.  Someone will be the proud recipient of the 100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4.  It will only cost them a mere $95,000.  (Do you think that includes tax, title and license?)  If that gift seems too modest for the one you love, consider the Vanity Fair Academy Awards Experience.  The price for that is $425,000 and includes $10,000 of gift cards for wardrobe, jewelry on loan and professional styling.   If those gifts are too steep you might want to wrap up the Tanqueray No. Ten Imperial Shaker by Jason Crawley.  It only costs $35,000 but honestly, I have studied the picture and I cannot for the life of me figure out what it does.  Truthfully, it would be kind of embarrassing to receive.  Don’t you hate it when you give a gift and the person has to ask, “What is it?”

The Neiman Marcus catalog is always fun to glance at, but most of us will spend our money elsewhere.  I actually did most of my shopping before Thanksgiving.  I think the best deals are often before the holiday rush and I didn’t want my “main gifts” to sell out.  I love to get the work done, then enjoy the holiday parties, music, movies and decorations.  I am a big fan of Christmas – much to the chagrin of my husband who has to help me “celebrate.”  I don’t want to call him out too much but truthfully, there is an ounce or two of “Bah-humbug” in his attitude.  Admittedly, after 34 years of marriage I have accumulated quite of bit of Ho-Ho-Ho and Fa-La-La in my attic.  Not to mention that this year we have a new grandbaby to include in the festivities!

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, for almost everyone in our country.  96% of all Christians celebrate Christmas.  I’m not sure why the other 4% don’t – but I’ll bet they are men!  81% of non-Christians celebrate Christmas as well – they just don’t celebrate the One the holiday was named for.  This blog isn’t about that issue.  Truthfully, I used to enjoy my President’s Day holiday when I was a teacher – and I really didn’t celebrate Washington and Lincoln that day.  I was just glad I could sleep in and do something fun.  

I wish everyone celebrated Christ at Christmas – but I can’t imagine that will ever be true.  On the other hand, there is something very special about this season that we, as Christians, should take advantage of.  It is much easier to bring up the name of Jesus during the holiday – and there is power in that name.  The way you celebrate will be noticed by a lot of people.  How can you celebrate Jesus in new ways this year as you celebrate the holiday season?  Those ideas are worthy of a list as well.  In fact, take a minute and use the comment section if you have a great idea about keeping Christ in the celebration.

I used to get put out when someone wished me “Happy Holidays.”  It felt like they were robbing Jesus of his birthday.  Interestingly, when I respond by looking a person in the eyes, smiling and saying “Merry Christmas” – I often see a great reaction.  It isn’t the store employees’ fault they have been asked to say, “Happy Holidays.”  They are probably just trying to keep their jobs and follow the rules.  I often see a clerk’s eyes and face light up when I respond as a Christian and realize that they probably celebrate Jesus too.  Merry Christmas isn’t the norm right now – which makes saying it much more important and noteworthy.

Let’s do all we can during this holiday season to represent our Lord.  Thank you for sharing your ideas with us.  I’m looking forward to reading your suggestions!  The next few weeks are a great opportunity to show people the “reason for the season” and it isn’t the chance to drive a new Maserati from the Neiman’s catalog.  Although…if I found it in my driveway with a big bow on top…

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