November 28, 2014

Emmaus Walk / Debra Tomaselli

Celebrate Jesus, God’s gift of love today and every day

Debra Tomaselli “I’m starting my Christmas shopping this weekend,” I said to a co-worker recently.

“So early?” she asked.

I nodded. “Last year, the holidays were so stressful that I’ve decided to get the shopping done before Thanksgiving. That way there’s time for church presentations and holiday gatherings.”

“I don’t know why we do this to ourselves,” my associate said, shaking her head.

Before long, we found ourselves bemoaning the fact that Christmas had become too commercialized. Did people lose the real meaning of the season? Was it all about retail sales? Why create all this stress?

“I’d rather see people give gifts throughout the year, instead of just one day,” she said. I nodded in absolute agreement.

That weekend, however, as I took my Christmas list to the stores, I changed my mind.

I realized a world without Christmas gift-giving would be very sad and cold, indeed.

Suppose there were no bell ringers for the Salvation Army? Suppose you never heard “Joy to the World” piped though a retail outlet? Or if school choirs didn’t visit the mall wishing us a Merry Christmas?

Suppose we weren’t prompted to consider sharing our resources, like our food, our time and our gifts, in some way, with family, friends and neighbors. What would that look like?

For a season, the spirit of Christmas surrounds us. It’s a spirit of love.

Some may measure the season by retailers’ revenues, but it’s far more than that.

It’s about the incalculable amount of love that motivates those transactions. Without the love, there would be no inflated sales.

Should we eliminate the commercialism prompted by Christmas day? Balance what we do throughout the year and eradicate the need to mark the occasion?

That would be like having someone’s birthday pass without any special recognition. We treat you nicely all year long, so why celebrate?

Could we really refrain from that? I couldn’t.

I want to celebrate you. I like to recognize birthdays … yours, mine … and Jesus’.

We can and should give of ourselves throughout the year. We can still be generous, create happy surprises, and make someone smile … any day of the year … every day of the year!

This, precisely, is what Christmas is all about.

And the commercialism?

Many of us don’t sew, bake, hammer or build anything useful. Generations ago, you had to. Thankfully, times have changed.

Now we shop in malls. There’s Amazon. We order online.

Why should Christmas be any different?

However, it’s not about overspending. A note and a candy bar can be the sweetest gift. In God’s economy, a smile, a hug, a visit or a silent prayer are priceless presents.

So let the retail ratings soar.

But don’t forget why.

Don’t forget the love of God poured out on us this Christmas day. Ponder the birth of the One sent to open the doors of heaven to you for eternity.

That’s the gift we celebrate on Christmas day. And this gift is never-ending. The love of God pursues you today and all the days of your life.

You can be sure of that.

You can celebrate that.

Today and every day.

(Debra Tomaselli writes from Altamonte Springs, Florida. She can be reached at

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