They bundled up and headed outside for their annual Christmas walk. The Wilkinson family loved to check out their neighbour’s displays. After, they come home for a steaming cup of hot chocolate with sprinkles on top.

Valerie knew once the kids got older this family tradition would probably end, so she liked to savour every moment.

“Burrr, it’s cold out tonight,” her husband said.

Valerie handed him a toque. “Here, you’ll need this.”

He kissed her on the cheek. “What would I do without you?”

“Freeze,” she said. “Okay kids, let’s go look at the lights.”

They jumped up and down. “Yeah!”

Valerie grabbed her husband gloved hand and followed the kids who had already made it halfway up the street.

“Slow down,” she said. “Wait for us.”

Susie stopped and pointed. “Mommy, Daddy, look at this one!”

It reminded Valerie of the Griswold’s Christmas. Lights everywhere. No part of the house could be seen. The lawn was cluttered with reindeer, inflated Santa, a train filled with presents, and much more.

Nothing about baby Jesus.

“Looks kind of empty if you ask me,” Valerie said to her husband. “Glitz and glamour, but no meaning.”

He nodded, and they walked on.

When you drive by houses at Christmas time and see them all decked out for the season, do you ever wonder what they believe? I do. Not in a judgmental way, but just out of curiosity. Do they celebrate our Lord’s birth or just Santa and gifts?

Is it just me or do the stores put out their decorations earlier every year? Also, it seems to me this year more people had their lights turned on earlier than normal. Some right after Halloween!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we shouldn’t put up lights and decorate. If you come to my house at Christmas, you’ll see something glittery in almost every room! What can I say? I love this time of year and I want to celebrate. There’s nothing the matter with that.

It’s when we take “Christ” out of “Christmas” where it’s wrong. When we do that, what’s left? Just “mas” – emptiness. The heart of Christmas is gone.

It’s also when we get too wrapped up in the commercialism, we forget why we celebrate. I think we’ve all done that from time to time. I know I have.

What would happen if we took the glimmer out of Christmas? If we didn’t put up decorations, trees or lights? I think it would be boring and sad. We’re used to it, but let’s remember what’s inside. Why we celebrate. What present is the best.

Baby Jesus—the greatest gift of all. The heart of Christmas.

Luke 2:14 (NASB)

Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased.

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