A friend of mine and I were giggling yesterday about her four year old and his inability to focus on Jesus over Santa Claus this month, despite his dad’s ardent attempts to mold his little heart. And in that conversation we acknowledged our own failure to (for lack of less cliche terms) remember the reason for the Season.
The Holidays for me are a constant struggle between kid me and mature me (the latter being quite elusive most of the time but more so when the Holidays are involved).
Honestly, 90% of the time, Thanksgiving is more about food or teeny tiny pumpkins or the Macy’s Day parade than thankfulness for me. When everyone else is posting their grateful instagrams every day in November, I’m dreaming of homemade mushroom soup and casseroles and the one of day of the year when I bask in unabashed gluttony from morning til night…and then until all of my leftovers are gone.
And when December hits-I’m ready for twinkly lights and wreathes and shopping lists, and the local children’s theatre original production of whatever Santa themed show they produce. I confess, I’ve thought WAY more about can my husband please hang lights this year/do I trust him on the roof? and will it ACTUALLY be cold for this season in stupid Texas? and presents presents presents than I have about the virgin birth in a lowly manger.
My childish brain is still perverting the season to suit myself.
While I build up the month of December over here, like a carefully crafted altar to my expectations, there are so many for whom the holidays are just hard. Maybe it’s the first year without a loved one, or maybe the 40th. Maybe family members died during this season. Or maybe, it’s a time of depression and hopelessness, because it just is.
The Holidays can be gut wrenching.
I have plans to write about all the things this month; relationships, presence over presents, grief, and finally celebration. And I hope I can channel my scattered brain to do so. However, if the month swallows me alive and I don’t, here at the beginning of the month, with a chill in the TX air (but the promise of 70s later on-all the eye roll emojis and #whyTXwhy), my tree alit, and my fir tree candle burning, I want to focus on Jesus.
I want to focus on the fact that he came to bring life, and hope, and joy, and peace to our brokenness and to our immaturity and to our pain. Maybe it doesn’t feel that way, because 2017 is the year we’ll tell our kids that the sky seemed to be falling. Or maybe we know we’re focused on all the wrong things. Or maybe we are just weary.
Every single year I write this phrase over and over on every page of my journal. And I think of it constantly….
A thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices!
The world has always been weary. There have always been tyrants and injustice. There has, since Eden, been sin and death and poor choices, and jealousy, and strife.
But in our striving and trying and fixing and exhaustion, if we could just remember…
for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn,
Because when Jesus Christ, the son of God, left his post in Heaven to live in the womb of an unmarried teenager and be born amidst farm animals in a manger…he did that to bring us peace. He did that to bring us into relationship with him. He did that because of great and unfathomable mercy and grace. He did that because he’d already created us all and he wanted to free us from ourselves once and for all.*
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angels voices, oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born
Christmas is not about Santa, but it is about a gift. The gift of Christ. The gift of freedom. The gift of relationship. And even though I LOVE presents, while I’m giving them and asking for them, I want to remember the manger and the cross and that because of those things, I am privy to the most wonderful gift of all.