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This Christmas Season

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.

Oh Holy Night

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.

Happy December.

*Ephesians 2:4-10

 

3 thoughts on “This Christmas Season

  1. Thanks for your thoughts, reminders, and reflections! It took me back to times and smells of Sherwood Elementary School. Valerie was the cute blond headed angel from 1st grade in the Christmas play. As you know it was in the cafetorium, and Don sang a part in “O Holy Night”! We of course didn’t know each other until about five or six years later at the summer recreation park at Sherwood Jr. High….the rest is history. You made me flash back to so many thoughts of Spindler Christmases and also some Brant snowy Christmases as well. Glad you are a writer, and maybe you can encapsulate some of the Christmases for your kids to experience vicariously later of your childhood memories and also clarify their memories of the Christmases in the Harrison Gang! Love y’all Have a blessed and fun Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post! I appreciate that you included that holidays can be difficult for some, as well as the hope God has given through His Son.

    I think, too, that since Christians ‘celebrate Christmas’, i.e. the gift of salvation, year-round, it’s easy to become childlike and get caught up in the Christmas festivities once a year. Having previously been married to a man who was an apathetic Christian, I am grateful to be married to one who is both mature and childlike when it comes to Christmas. Having also been in legalistic circles, some observances seemed to be more forced out of duty and obligation rather than from a heart of love and rejoicing. In Deuteronomy, all the Jewish people were encouraged to rejoice during Holy Day festivals. I once heard a preacher teach that God chose certain times to determine festivals, because other cultures were celebrating, like harvest festivals for example, and He wanted to establish what they should be celebrating instead of having them follow others and fall into idolatry and false worship. Not only that, but we know Jesus ‘partied’, because his accusers called Him a glutton and a drunkard. Not that He was either, but rather accused because of ‘association’, as well as the probability that He was rejoicing and having fun. It reminds me of a blog post I read giving the analogy of families traveling through life on ships and how parents, especially fathers as the captain, should be mindful about how he runs his ship, lest his family members see other ships in passing and want to jump. We all want at least three things in life—something to do, someone to love, and something for which to hope. God gives us all three and more! That’s something to rejoice (have joy again and again) in, and I think our rejoicing blesses God more than an obligated observance.

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