I recently received a message from a very dear friend. My best friend, actually. He expressed to me his feelings about his upcoming birthday celebration. He was excited about all his children and friends that would be celebrating with him. He was also expecting people who just met him, as well as people who've NEVER met him, to be celebrating. He was hopeful that the celebration would be huge - bigger than ever before, full of singing, joy, laughter and love! At the same time, he was concerned and deeply saddened that it could turn out the way it's been in years past.
You see, for years on his birthday most of those invited barely even acknowledged his presence. They brought gifts, sang songs, told stories, put up decorations, and made cookies and candies galore! Sounds like a great party! So why is he so concerned?
NONE OF IT IS FOR HIM. Everyone keeps talking about this other guy.
They dress up like this other guy, tell stories about him, sing about him, watch movies about him and bring him cookies. Children even behave better in anticipation of his arrival. And it's not even his birthday!! So much time, money, and energy spent on someone who's never actually shown up.
All the while my friend is standing there, watching and waiting for someone to acknowledge him. Once in a while someone will mention him - in passing or out of obligation. Not only does He offer everyone a else a gift on His birthday, but every single day of every year. Quite a special guy - a one of a kind! In reality, my friend has given us EVERYTHING, including healthy imaginations and creativity to think up this other guy. He never meant for that imagination to create someone to take his place or distract from His gift to us.
So, this Christmas, who are you going to spend your time, energy, and money singing about, reading about, talking about and celebrating, and essentially worshipping? My Friend, or that other guy?