By Judy Brandon: Religion columnist
Christmas is just three weeks away.
Even though Christmas is a time of lofty hopes and expectations, I have to be honest and admit that some years I haven’t had much Christmas spirit. I think it has to do with really seeing the meaning of Christmas during all our activities. Let me explain:
The song “Sweet Little Jesus Boy” is an old spiritual written by Robert McGimsey. This song has been around for a long time and I have heard the song over the years.
Up until this past week, I was hearing the song with my ears but not listening to the words with my heart. I heard the words differently last week. This is what I heard in my heart:
Just seems like we can’t do right,
Look how we treated You.
But please, sir, forgive us Lord,
we didn’t know ‘twas You.
That made me think of the verse, “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.” (John 1:10-11)
That verse does just not pertain to the Bethlehem scene and all those who rejected Jesus centuries ago. I saw a new meaning in that verse this last week because the words of the song, “we didn’t know it was you,” is relative for us today.
How? I thought back over my busy week. There were plenty of times I didn’t see Jesus and think about what Jesus would do. I remember that older gentleman who needed help finding his parked car in the expansive parking lot in Lubbock. I knew he was confused but I didn’t stop to help. What would Jesus do?
I thought about the student I had some years ago. I saw her at the doctor’s office this past week and even though I knew she recognized me, I was in a hurry so I couldn’t wait and talk. I think she felt she was not important to me. I think I gave the impression that I didn’t care about her. What would Jesus do?
I remember the woman at the grocery store who had two small children and several plastic sacks of groceries. I was too busy to help her to her car. What would Jesus do?
In all these instances, it was just like “I didn’t know it was you.” I didn’t recognize those opportunities as a chance to do something for someone else in Jesus’ name. I didn’t take the time to put away my own thoughts and needs to reach out to someone else in Jesus’ name.
For a long time I thought that decorating the house and listening to Christmas music, wrapping gifts, making cookies, and dipping pretzels in white chocolate would bring that Christmas feeling.
I thought shopping and spending time worrying about what to buy family and special friends was just part of it all.
But I was wrong.
Now I know that the Christmas spirit is seeing Jesus all through the holidays, seeing others as His children and reaching out in His name.
I know that in every encounter I should think, “What would Jesus do?” When I act from that perspective, I am living out His commands.
I don’t want to be guilty of missing the best part of Christmas — seeing Jesus and experiencing Him in the everyday.
Just focusing on the true meaning of Christmas as a time for inviting Jesus to be more of my life is very exciting.
How about you? What can you do these next three weeks?
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org