Why I Celebrate Christmas

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Contrary to the phrase, Jesus is the reason for the season, in truth, He isn’t. The original reason for observing December 25th began in ancient Rome where they celebrated Dies Natali Invictus — the birthday of the unconquered—the day of the birth of the unconquered sun, set on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, and the sun supposedly made the days become longer again.

In A.D. 324 Constantine wanted to unify and stabilize his Empire, therefore he sought to reconcile by blending and meshing pagan practices with Christian beliefs, to merge paganism with the Roman church.

For this reason I do not worry about keeping Christ in Christmas, because at its inception He wasn’t in Christmas. If we want to get technical, His birth was more than likely in September. In truth, Jesus isn’t concerned with us celebrating His birth, He wants to be our every day celebration.

Even so, I do not reject celebrating Christmas. I love it! It is a time of centering. A time to refocus, renew, and remind myself of those things that are so important to Christ—not singing happy birthday to him, but to open my heart to others. This season serves as a springboard into the New Year to fulfill the law of love. That is what Jesus taught and desires.

For me, Christmas is family and friends. Love and laughter. Not so much as giving presents but being present. Therefore, I wish you a Merry Christmas and hope that all that is important to Christ—feeding the poor, clothing the naked, forgiving, loving your neighbor—will also be important to you!

ROMANCE = LOVE?

Neal and me

I am going to write 4 romance novellas and I admit, writing romance may be difficult for me. Why? Well, it certainly isn’t because my husband isn’t romantic, because he is the prince of romance. I think it is because too many people equate romance with love. And while the two go hand in hand, like steak sauce and steak, they are not equal.

Therein lies the problem. People confuse the two. So what is love? In the English language there are many ways we use the word love: I love you, I love tiramisu, I love horror movies, I love the holidays . . . you get the picture. Most of these, like romance, are heavy in the emotional, feel good, category. So what is real love? 

The best definition I know is found in the Hebrew word agapao. It means to honor, esteem, cherish, favor, respect, accept, prize, relish, to be devoted to, be loyal to, it is the kind of love rooted in the mind and will that motivates us to actions that benefits others

And there you have it. True love primarily benefits others. While we are looking for someone to love us we are missing out on true love. Love that has less to do with emotion and everything to do with how we honor, esteem, cherish, favor, respect, accept, prize, relish, are devoted to, and loyal to. And the highest kind of love is when the person we are loving are not behaving in a way that deserves it.

The love I have described is not easy, it doesn’t always feel good, and sometimes it isn’t  recognized or appreciated. But, it is that kind of love by which Christ loves us. To love with unconditional love is hard. It takes a dedicated mindset. But when we love with this kind of love it heals and empowers us.

I read this yesterday, a prayer by Francis Frangipane and made it my prayer: Help me, Master, to recognize Your love, not as a divine emotion, but as Your very substance. Help me to see that it was neither Pilate not Satan that put You on the cross; it was love alone to which You succumbed.