Saturday, December 6, 2008

What About the Rest of the Year?

Givers give
Bakers bake
Bell ringers ring
Celebratories celebrate
Carolers carol
Worshipers worship
Gatherers gather

Why all the fuss this one time a year? What about the other 364 days? What about the other 11 months? What is it that brings us to give so much, celebrate with lots of food and parties, and be more thoughtful much more during this month than any other?

Where is our spirit of giving, gathering, celebrating, thanking the rest of the year? How can we see the joy of this 365 days a year? Though, I am thankful that we do celebrate, give, gather, rejoice during this month. Does it not bring a sense of sadness at the end and with the new year? Do we not desire to continue with the spirit of giving, celebrating, and rejoicing? Or does the month wear us down? Does it silence our bells, cool our ovens, empty our pockets, and soften our songs to the point of not having anything remaining for the other 11 months?

It's easy to speak of Christ during Christmas, right? Because for many, He is our reason for the season but for some, simply toys and trees are the reason. Is it easier to share Christ during Christmas because it's widely known as His birth?

Yes, the lights are glowing. Yes, the carols are gorgeous. Yes, the spirit is gracious. Yes, the celebration is glorious.

Do we not feel a sigh in our hearts when the carols are no more, the celebration is no more, the nativity of reminders of a virgin birth are no more?

It's a beautiful season. It's a difficult season. Looking at the flesh, the heart, the life; it can be very painful. Looking at the true reason, the true purpose, the true glory; it can be magnificient. With true focus on the Christ, it can relieve the burdens, it can lighten the load, and it can lift the heart. We can rejoice. We can also rejoice after the celebration and with the turn of a new year.

Time is drawing near. Time to be determined in our lives. Time to be intent in our lives.

As I sat in a very cold theater with a non-working heating system today, I pondered on the season. Attending a free showing of "Polar Express" with my nieces, we were graced with beautiful carolers dressed in costume and singing a beautiful tune on stage for us prior to the movie. I listened at the soothing songs with words reminding us of the glory of the season...the celebration of Christ's birth. However, I wondered, though His birth is very worthy of such elaborate celebrations, isn't His death worthy of an even more elaborate celebration? Of course, His death could not have happened without His birth. But without His death and resurrection, we would have nothing! We do celebrate His death and resurrection through Easter. But have you ever pondered how Easter is not celebrated anywhere near the extent of Christmas, even in the "religious" or spiritual realm? Considering the church's celebration between the two events, Easter falls short in my eyes of the attention. Wouldn't it be awesome if there were such a display of celebration during Easter as we have during Christmas?


Rejoice in the Lord always. Philippians 4:4

God gave us His Son and we celebrate Christmas.

But Jesus gave us His Life and we celebrate Easter.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for giving Your life for me. Thank You for fulfilling my desire to commune with You in writing and to hearing You speak the words for me to write. You knew my heart had been longing to pen something in Your Name and You have supplied. Thank You, that as I sat in a very old and cold theater with my gloves, scarf, and winter coat, You spoke to my heart this desire to celebrate all year round...not just in our hearts but in our lives, churches, and communities. Your Christmas music is so worshipful and Your carolers spoke straight to my heart.

Christmas day will be here and gone before we know it.
Our lives on this Earth will be here and gone before we know it.
Christ will be here and gone before we know it.

Desiring Christmas Spirit All Year Long,

30 comments:

much2ponder said...

I'm with you sister, but I have say I have noticed that during the Christmas season it is not only that people of faith are in better spirits with warm hearts and love to be shared...it is also true in the other direction as well. Those who know of Him, but don't Know him often seem more open and perhaps with softer hearts during this time of the year. You are right; it is easier to speak of those things that pull on hour heart strings regarding Jesus during this season, but it is also true that people seem more willing to listen as well.

As for Easter, I agree 100% with what you speak of here. I was blessed in my first years as a Christian with a Pastor who spoke and taught on Easter as the most important holiday of the year for the very reason you speak of here.

My prayer is that the Lord be glorified throughout the year and that his plans and purposes be fulfilled in each of us.

Edge of Design said...

My dd says she feels like it's Christmas most of the time except if she's tired.

Tonja said...

This is worthy of much though from each of us. As I go about my holiday doings, I pray that others can tell why I am celebrating.

Abbasgirl said...

Amen!

Melanie said...

I've been thinking about this very thing as I've been visiting around this afternoon. We're all speaking of how we should show love during this holiday season (which is very true), but what about the rest of the year. I really want to carry on my attitude of love and giving after Dec 25th. I am praying for that!

Thanks for a great post, Paula!

Laura said...

Hi, Paula!

Thank you, dear one, for praying me through the holidays. Sometimes the past gets to me...especially during times when families get together. God teaches me through it all...He uses everything.

This post makes me think. Yes, Easter it the holiday that Christians should rejoice over...over and over again! There is just such magic in Christmas. And I agree with much2ponder that during this time of year everyone seems more open to the message. And I love what Melanie says about keeping our attitude of love year round.

Trying...

Love,
Laura

LynnSC said...

Oh yes my friend, you are so right. I do wish that this same sense of giving and love would carry throughout the rest of the year.

Loved this part...

"Christmas day will be here and gone before we know it.
Our lives on this Earth will be here and gone before we know it.
Christ will be here and gone before we know it."

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. I love to come by and catch up.
Lynn

JnL4God said...

Paula-
AMEN! Great post that reflects my heart too.
I resent the one e-mail and another one. Are you getting them?
Thanks Sweets,
Lynn

Amy said...

I do love the Christmas season so much, but like I shared with Laura this morning, it is an emotionally conflicting time for so many. Myself included.
I do wish, like you shared, that the spirit lasted for 365 days a year. What a wonderful world that would be, amen?;)
I received your card Saturday. Thank you for being so thoughtful to me. You know of the difficulties that I have faced in my life this year, and your thoughtfulness just means so much to me. Thank you.
God bless you, Paula!
Amy:)

Joanne said...

I so agree Paula...what about the rest of the year? I think that the reason it is such a HUGE production is that for the most part it is not about Jesus. People are scurrying around from one mall to the next, purchasing gifts for one another. If we were to make it about Him it would be not even close to the celebration.

I have yet to purchase a Christmas gift. I will get around to it eventually for my children, but I refuse to make it a ridiculously crazy time for my family.

There should be peace in my heart and peace in my home these next few days!

Great post!

Deare Diary said...

That is true. Isn't it something how God will speak to us anywhere we are if we will just listen for his voice. Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice. Thanks for sharing that blessing
Judy

Jenn @ Casa de Castro said...

Great post! I'm grateful my church puts as much emphasis on Easter as it does on Christmas. The celebration, the music, even the decor... just awe-inspiring and so conducive to an atmosphere of worship!

Although I agree we should be more giving and loving all year long, I recognize Christmas as a time when some who are not generally IN church or open to the IDEA of fellowship with Jesus actually do COME to church and hear about the importance of a daily walk with Him. However they get there, I'm grateful for another opportunity to reach them!

Have a great day, Paula.

Mary said...

Paula, thanks so much for sharing on my blog. But as I read the last paragraph about your not being able to put up the tree or look at the decorations it made my heart sad.
I so wish I could say something that would help you. Perhaps you could put a tree up, but store the decorations that bring you pain.
I remember one year when I thought my story of a miracle was going to be shown on TV. I was so excited and to me it was like "the star" at the top of the tree. But the program was bumped for a football game and I thought "my star" went thud to the ground. Then I realized that Jesus is the only star that I should focus on. He is the star of Bethlehem that still guides our way.
Perhaps you could put a small tree up with a star on top and just worship Jesus. I think your heart would be warmed and you would experience a Joy that only He can give!

Pat said...

Paula,
It is so true. As much as I enjoy the season there is a sense of what the world is missing---the Manger is nothing without the Cross.
Love you sister!
pat

Laura said...

Hey, girlie,

I've been thinking about this post. Last night, as I was tucking in, it occurred to me why I feel so much joy this time of year. It's because, during Advent, I'm not only waiting on the Baby Jesus, but I'm waiting for King Jesus to return! This time reminds me of the incredible joy in that promise. It gives me butterflies to even think it!

Love you, gal!

skoots1mom said...

thanks for coming by...
got my teen to help, and the tree is UP!!!!

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

I am with you on the Easter thought, especially, but I think because it includes death, of course, people just cannot bring themselves to celebrate in the ways we do for other events. I am working on keeping Christmas in my heart, as Dickens said, all year long. But I also know that God set certain dates and festivals for his people when they behaved and celebrated differently than other days, so I guess it's OK that we do that. I just think having your heart changed is most important. Just this week I took a big step (for me) in committing to something other than myself this year. Thanks for the contemplative post.

Luanne said...

Yes, it is a good time to share Jesus with others!

Thanks for your encouraging post!

Noticed your from Indiana--we will be heading down on Thursday to pick up our son from college--Taylor!

God Bless!

andi said...

What a special time with your nieces! Way to go Aunt Paula! Thanks for reminding us of our focus, our purpose.

Sharon said...

Yes you are right
Huggsss
Sharon

Debbie said...

I find that the Christmas season opens up more opportunities to talk about Jesus than other times. But you're right. I also wish that Easter was just as big a celebration. I love Easter and without the resurrection, we'd all be lost. I'm just so thankful that He loves us and as believers, we can rejoice.

Thanks for stopping by and visiting Heart Choices.

Lora said...

Oh, I so agree that our holiday spirit should be year round. The Lord has been working on my attitude of thanksgiving this last year and it has really transformed my thinking.
As I read your post, I can not help but think if our dear Lord said on the eve of his death, "This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it" that I should be like my dear Lord.
I was drawn to your blog by your pink daisy. Your spilled the paint picture evidences how amazing our God is.

Dianne said...

Oh Paula, this is lovely, I'm so sorry I have been so scarce, I have just been so overwhlemed, but this message has lifted me significantly today, thank you again.

Beth in NC said...

This is my first time visiting your blog and I think it is beautiful. I became a "follower" as well. :O)

You are right about Christmas. Why don't we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord like we do His birth? Very interesting and I don't have an answer.

I'll be visiting often and I hope you'll enjoy my blog as well.

In Him,
Beth

Liz said...

Amen! And like Lynn in SC, I loved this part as well,
"Christmas day will be here and gone before we know it.
Our lives on this Earth will be here and gone before we know it.
Christ will be here and gone before we know it."
It popped out and I had to read it twice.
Yes, it is true.
We should be doing this 24/7.

And, yes, I changed my blog for the holidays. Sorry to startle you with the black. :) I will have to change it up again in a few weeks. For some reason, the blog look changes with my mood. Sort of like my hair!

littlerad said...

Thank you, yes there is a Lifeway in Salt Lake so I just transfred to it, and I'm loving it...
I pray that things are going well for you...

Connie
GBU

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

I'm with you also. It should be an all-year-long celebration!!! I just can't get into the world view of Chriatmas this year...Jesus is the reason!!

In His Graces~Pamela

Kim@Seasons of My Heart said...

You are SO very right!!! Your heart shines through..so bright...and I LOVE seeing the LOVE of the Lord in your life.

Praying sweet blessing on you friend.

Carol said...

Oh my dear friend, you and I think so much a like. It's unbelievable. I do love Christmas, and I understand about the tree. But I'll email that to you tomorrow, and share more with your there.

I agree Christmas is nothing without the Cross, because if Jesus hadn't gone to the cross for us then we would have no reason to celebrate his birth.

Our church actually does do a lot of celebrating at Easter, it's really a cool experience. Good Friday service is an interactive experience. We have a stations of the cross in a way. We kneel and pray in the garden, we see and can touch the nails and the thorn crown. We can pick up and carry full size crosses (and there are ones for kids too), we can smell vinegar. And many others, it's one of my favorite events it's accompanied by the passages of the bible, and historical text. We nail our sins to the cross, and then take communion after passing through a torn tapestry. We have journals out that every year people write in and share what God is doing. I can't wait to blog about it. The mood is somber and it gives me so much time to reflect.

Then Easter comes, and we sing joyful praise and celebrate His resurection together as a church body.

Your right we must be Christmas all year round, sharing the true reason, but having giving and loveing hearts, so that people can see our Love for him is not just once a year.

Fab post my friend.

Love ya lots.

Carol

Dana said...

Dear Sweet Paula,

Thank You!! I feel the same way about Easter. I've always thought that Good Friday should be a National Holiday. Easter is my favorite holiday. I totally agree with you. I'm from the heartland and I love how My Heavenly Father brings the earth back to life at Easter time just as His Son came back. Our God is soooo GOOD.

I haven't been in contact for a while now. Hope you are doing good. You must be the #1 Aunt. Enjoy it.

Love in Christ,
Dana