How are you doing with the Hallmarkization of the holidays this year? Are they living up to your expectations? What are your expectations?
I love Christmas. I love the songs, the decorations, the idea of festive activities. I look forward to it all year. I start listening to Christmas music before the Thanksgiving turkey is cool. But too often the holidays in my mind just don’t seem to materialize in quite the same way as in my imagination. Does that happen to you?
What looks like the perfect Martha Stewart Christmas in my mind…beautifully decorated mantles, trees, hearths, staircases etc…done with loving, festive touches against a background of gently falling snow and Christmas music in reality ends up being something done as time allows in the evenings and weekends. Okay, I’ve got 2 free hours….what box can I dig out now and decorate? The tree goes up while watching Survivor and Criminal Minds. Instead of taking time to wrap gifts with creative, unique ribbons and bows, I’m taping the paper while wondering where the #@*! the gift tags went that I bought on sale last year.
In my mind, gift shopping should be a fun-filled day selecting something meaningful and perfect for loved ones. This is coupled with a leisurely lunch enjoying the season’s sights, sounds and smells. But this activity usually turns into a divide and conquer quest to finish and get out of the mall parking lot as fast a possible before everyone else leaves. Let’s not even talk about (shudder) Black Friday.
The “Perfect Christmas.” Seriously, what does that even look like? We stress about how to deliver the perfect holiday for our children; whether they’re 3 or 23 years old! We worry about whether their holidays are merry and bright, especially when they’re separated from us. From two-year old mall temper tantrums to facing Christmas alone after a death or divorce, sometimes the holidays are anything but perfect, and it seems like Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men is an impossibility.
But I still love Christmas. You can take away the tree, lights, songs and decorations and I’d still love Christmas. You can celebrate it in August and I’d still love Christmas. Because I love the reason for the season. All the messiness of life…all the imperfect realities of what a “perfect Christmas” should look like only drives home how desperately we need a way to mend our brokenness.
As the Grinch discovered:
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?
~Theodor Seuss Geisel
A star piercing the darkness. The “king-size” bed in a humble stable. The realization that God chose to be born into his creation to advance his plan for restoration. For those that put their trust in him, we are His and He is ours.
Best. Present. Ever.