Five years ago I wanted to quit Christmas. Yeah, Grinch style. I wanted none of it. My reasons were vast, from the highly spiritual to the painfully mundane. I felt like we were getting it wrong as believers, I always wanted a beautiful themed Christmas tree, but I just never did have the design chops to pull it off, and honestly, my holidays had been a push and pull game since I was little with guilt always nagging at my mind for where I was not and what I was not doing. And it made me grumpy. It made me Grinchy...
"You're a mean one Mr. Grinch..."
More than anything it made me yucky. I was grossed out by my own greed and self-consumption. I was enlightened enough to see it, but not empowered to stop it.
So in a characteristically subtle move, (nope), I tried my darndest to quit Christmas. I kept plowing through a few measly traditions for the sake of my family, but if no one had taken out an Evergreen tree, my feelings wouldn't have been hurt. I mean, it's not like it's really Jesus' birthday or anything, right?
Here is the thing, the church started celebrating Christmas over 1700 years ago. And traditions have been piling on ever since. We are feeling the weight aren't we? I don't necessarily think the Grinch got it wrong when he says, "Noise. Noise. NOISE." It can me deafening to our Silent Night, can't it? I read so many posts about simplifying the Holidays and saying no, that I feel quite sure I'm not the only that just couldn't deal with all the stuff anymore. More than that though, I couldn't deal with my own, internal, stuff anymore.
Where are you Christmas?
In a Gallup leadership test I took in college one of the results revealed that I am contextual person. I process what is going on now, by what has happened before now. And I've now spent five years digging through Christmas. Why I do what I do. Or for that matter, why anyone does what they do. What the heck where we doing?!?!
And while I found enough factual evidence that I could have put together a valid argument for quitting Christmas, I found God turning my heart in a different direction. I saw festivals of lights, a sainted man willing to have a heart like Jesus, sharing of wonderful sweet things to eat to commemorate something big. I saw thousands of years of people celebrating a Savior's coming.
I found something worth celebrating.
There were things that I was terrified to let go of that haven't bothered me one bit, and there were things I was surprised I held on to.
I mean, for one, I didn't throw out the tree. We just use ours a little differently now.
I didn't have to quit Christmas, I, like the Grinch, just had to turn from the Grinch to Grace. And I found myself singing a little Mariah. You know what I mean.
"All I want for Christmas is You."
Because it turns out, when I do indeed fix my eyes upon Jesus, that in fact, the things of the world grow strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace. And with that Grace, He redeemed Christmas for me. Again.
Because it's okay to say no.
But it is also okay to say yes.
When All I want for Christmas is Jesus, I not only have the enlightenment to see what it is all really about, but the empowerment to live in what it is all really about. I can enjoy others' perfectly crafted trees without feeling sanctimonious or jealous. I can appreciate what we do give without feeling guilty about what we don't. I can say no without believing that it means I'm not saying yes.
Because, maybe, just maybe Christmas is about a little bit more.
I don't know where you are this Holiday season, but it doesn't matter, because Grace? Is already there.
Because this Christmas? Emmanuel.
God with us.