Do you feel stretched in too many directions at Christmas. It’s understandable with
all the demands placed upon us. The list of pressures seems endless, from which
half of the family to visit and where to be, then there is time and finance and
beyond. And yet, the message of Christmas could not be further from the frazzle
we get wrapped up in (pun intended). The gift of Christmas is Jesus!
There should be no pressure to be the perfect host. You do not have to lay on a
lavish feast. In every area of life, in God’s eyes, you are great just the way you are;
you are sufficient because as inadequate as we may feel, it is God’s sufficiency that
makes up the difference when we all fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23). After
all, Mary and Joseph had no fanfare, no luxury accommodation and certainly no
You do not have to promise the world and should not go into debt to deliver the gift
of Christmas. As Dave Ramsay, the debt guru reminds us, the borrower is slave to
the lender (Proverbs 22:7). Jesus came to set us free from the burden of slavery of
every kind. Long before credit cards were in everybody’s wallets, I remember my
mother telling our family that if we did not have the cash to buy something, then
we should not have it. Therefore, credit cards are just another way to make us
poorer, and if we end up carrying balances over which incur interest, we have
become slaves to materialism and to the bank.
Mary and Joseph were poor. On that first Christmas they were required to travel
from Nazareth to his hometown of Bethlehem for tax purposes. A journey of about
eight to ten days. We know they were poor because their temple sacrifice was two
doves instead of a lamb. We think they probably travelled on foot and though there
is no donkey in the biblical accounts, we think that they may have had one as a
I am fortunate that my profession requires me to be here for Christmas, I always
feel sorry for anyone who has long journeys to make. However, the reality for them
is that they get to experience a taste of what it must have been like for the Holy
Family, for they were going home to Bethlehem. The only difference is that the
modern traveler has the more stressful task of flying on the busiest day of the year
or driving long-distance.
There’s a lot to be said for keeping it simple. Focus on the birth of Jesus. It is His
birthday we are celebrating. Everything else is superfluous to the true meaning of Christmas.
So, if the strain of it all is too much, of doing it the way it’s always been done in your family, then do yourselves a favor and keep it simple. Focus on this, the gift of Christmas is Jesus, not what you or anyone can give or do.