Christmas, on a general calendar, only comes once a year. It’s the time of year that I enjoy the smell of fresh pine (okay, maybe I am just making mention to that….I really don’t like the smell of fresh pine; it just sounded nice), making my “never kept” New Year’s Resolutions (hey, who does anyways…I know I’m NOT the only one that doesn’t), and reflecting on all the blessings that God has given to me. It also is a time where Boyz II Men “Let It Snow”, Donny Hathaway “This Chirstmas”, and The Temptations “Silent Night” are constantly blasted on every African American based radio station, music television station, and many iPod’s and Pandora stations; music has become a part of my Christmas experience. Above all else, when I think of Christmas, I think of Baby Jesus and his beginning journey called “birth”. My mind begins to wonder how things actually worked back then, like:
1. 1. Did Mary ever get hot with all of that long clothing? She seemed to be young in age, but does anyone really know what type of material her clothing was made out of?
2. 2. From state to state, how long was the actually journey for Mary and Joseph? Did Joseph ever think about soaking his feet from that long walk….keep in mind that Mary rode on the donkey and Joseph walked the whole way. His shoe of choice wasn’t a Nike, Puma, or Adidas, so it makes me think…
3. 3. How often did the 3 Wise Men get lost? It seems that they traveled mostly at night, seeing that they were guided by the “star”. However, what do I know….in all of my 28 years of living, I have always been told that the Wise Men saw Baby Jesus on the night of his birth; yet, I just found out that they actually met Toddler Jesus instead…Go figure! Most nativity scenes included them and they weren’t even there….BOY!
4. 4. Was there ever a baby shower for Mary and Baby Jesus? Every woman knows that a baby shower is just what you need during your pregnancy; it’s a time for you and your close friends and family to celebrate the little miracle soon to arrive. Those baby games, gifts, and food would be one to imagine.
5. 5. What kind of skin did Baby Jesus have? Think about it: He was born outside, with only a blanket to keep him warm. So, was he too hot or too cold while outside during that time in history? Bonus thought: Did Mary place a quarter on Baby Jesus’ navel to have an “inney”?
While I think of these unanswered questions, I begin to go ponder if I’m really focusing on the right things for Christmas. Rev. Kelly taught us last Sunday that the one person who should be receiving gifts from us probably doesn’t; it is Christ’s birthday, so should he get a few gifts from us??? My question, during the sermon (that I thought to myself, seeing that isn’t a “Raise your hand and ask a question” sermon…more of a “I preach/teach and you take notes”) was “What do you get for a man who has everything and has the power to give you everything?” Before I could think further, Rev Kelly got a message from God to answer my question…HA! He told us to, basically, give the gift of your Time, Effort, Thanksgiving, and Praise. At that very moment, I started to create a list of how I would start and/or continue to give these gifts throughout the many days, months, and years to come.
1. I vow to gift my time to God, family, my church, friends, those in need and myself. I will take the time to read my Bible more, or volunteer at a local shelter. I will gift my time with my new girls’ group at church, the g.i.r.l.s @ the Rock and continue to give my “Boos” free Wash & Roller Sets. I will try to make more time for myself, even though that can be difficult for me.
2. I vow to give continued effort to make it to Sunday School each Sunday. I can remember when Cousin Sheryl would try to get me to come to Sunday School and I would brush it off. It wasn’t until one of my favorite uncles, Uncle Ricky, told me that the only payment for helping me move was to come to Sunday School. I started out for my first time coming because I wanted to keep my promise to him. It was only after church that day I realized that I would come the following Sunday for a promise I would make to God. For those of you that don’t attend, you don’t know what you are missing. Classroom #2 aka, Uncle Ricky’s class has the most interesting, motivating, and encouraging discussion. PAUSE: I would like to take this time to give a quick shout out to my teacher and classmates: Uncle Ricky, Mr. Mike, Dwayne, Ma, Sis. Kelly, Andrew, Ms. McDonald, Stacy Moultree, Ms. Donna, Dorian & Van…hope I didn’t miss anyone.
3. I vow to show thanksgiving on a daily basis. The blessings that I see each day are new and sometimes unexpected. I will continue to give God “Thanks” for “Giving” me things, even when I am not worthy. Marvin Sapp wrote it best, “In Everything, Give Him Thanks”….Pain, Joy, Laughter, Hurt, Love, etc…Give Him “Thanks”
4. I vow to praise God anyhow. No matter what I go through, I have to continue to give God praise. When you are faced with adversity, PRAISE HIM. When you get a raise at work, PRAISE HIM. When you are overlooked to be the girlfriend/boyfriend of John/Jane Doe, PRAISE HIM. When you ace your finals, PRAISE HIM. When you lose a job, PRAISE HIM. When don’t know what else to do, PRAISE HIM. You see, the beauty of PRAISING HIM is this: He will always know that you love Him in spite of, just likes He loves you in spite of. God will always know that no matter what test He takes you through, you will always have a VICTOROUS testimony because your PRAISED HIM anyhow.
Here’s how I look at it: By giving God these few small gifts, I am saving money, gift wrapping skills, bows, and numerous hours looking for Christmas cards that never quite say what I feel. So, as Kirk Franklin & the Family reminds us that “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”, we should all try to do as Johnny Gill and “Give Love on Christmas Day”. I’m wishing you all, as the FAB Quincy Jones puts it a “Soulful Chirstmas”