For me, the nostalgia of Christmas has worn off as I’ve grown older. I think the jaded lens of the world creeps in and you know too much. You aim to see the hurt and the bad in this time of year. You see those without and wonder why. You see pain and hurt and wonder why. You see want and need skewed with have and have not. You see the hustle and busy schedule and find yourself drained from trying to do and be. You miss the wonder. You overlook the met needs. You forget to be present where you are and invest in that moment.
How has Christmas changed from your nostalgic view as a kid to your view as an adult? Which one is better? What made that happen?
Today is a chance to reflect and think on what Christmas really means to you and if you are celebrating it the way you want to. I’m a firm believer that bad patterns of behavior or broken visions don’t have to stay just because. I think we are totally and completely in charge of fixing things to be like we want them.
So, my challenge today is to look at the way you celebrate Christmas. Are there things you aren’t doing and want to?
I’m not trying to sound like a vixen for change, but I have had some hard lessons learned in trying to sit around and wait for what I want to just happen to me. Last Christmas much about the way I view the holidays changed. I’ve mentioned it several times so I don’t want to sound like a stuck record winding its way around the same line of a song.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in a home where we knew the meaning of Christmas. Actually, we spent the 6 weeks leading up to Christmas as part of our church Christmas pageant. Rarely were there real animals, but there were almost always angles flying! I loved being back stage and hanging out with all the older kids. We always had adoptive moms because my dad was usually the blind guy in the miracles scene and mom always sat on stage left with a head set on giving cues. It was a perfect experience. And, I can remember what it was like to stand among the ficus trees and painted stone walls watching “miracles” happen. I don’t know that I was super reflective at that point in my life, but those vivid little snapshots of experiences are something I ponder from time to time.
When I think about the God of this universe sending His Son for us – Sending him to a woman way to young to be a mother and to a man who had to find understanding from the bottom of his toes to go against public humiliation of taking a pregnant wife who he had not “been” with. I think of a group of men; rugged men, young and old hanging out a random hillside with a bunch of stinky sheep being caught off guard by this random angel showing up to tell them to gather up their sheep and heard them back into the city to find this stable out behind a house with more stinky animals in it and then the were surrounded with a bunch more angels singing, praising and proclaiming peach. And, then that group of curious wanderers would be so intrigued by this “star” in the sky that they would search high and low for the better part of 2-3 years to find what this was that was different than they had ever seen.
When I think about all those things, I’m drawn to the fact that miracles and special moments were part of the grandiose plan from the beginning. I love that our Savior is interested in details. Tiny little minute things matter to him. But, its also not about extravagance or fanfare. Yes, most of these musicals present 3 valiant kings riding in on white horseback or lumpy camels or with exotic birds. And, that may have all happened. These sorcerers had some cash after all! But, something tells me it went down a little more like this.
“We have seen the star in the east and have come to worship him” looked more like some weary travelers going hut to hut, not necessarily gathered on a culd-a-sac in a sub-division, to find the family they had been looking for. And, can you imagine a weary mother of an 18 month old wondering who these random guys were looking for her kid. I can imagine that Joseph was out back in his “workshop” that may have more likely resembled a lean-to with worn out workshop supplies. I can hear Mary as she hollars, “uhh Joseph could you come in here please”. And, then they hear we have “come to worship”. Not sing a 7/11 song or share an explicitly written liturgical responsive reading, but honor, reverence, give unadulterated attention to the boy Jesus.