Wednesday, December 11, 2013

why we shouldn't worry when we don't feel that Christmas spirit

If I’m not always in the Christmas spirit, you’ll have to excuse me. If I don’t run around yelling “deck the halls!” please forgive me. Sometimes the days are mundane and the kids are fighting, even in December. The nerve.

It’s not that I’m not in a festive mood, it’s that I think we place too much stock in that Christmas spirit feeling. If we can even define it, what would that Christmas spirit look like anyway?

Is it happiness?

Is it glitter infused glad tidings to all we meet? 

Or is it something more, something deeper and quieter?

As Christ followers we have every reason to rejoice this season, but we don’t need parties and lights to get there. And if we do, then I think we’re missing something.

It’s not that I’m against outward expressions of joy and cheer during Christmas. If you spend just half a minute with me in real life, you’ll know that I live and breath Christmas. It really is my favorite time of the year, as the glitter in my coffee indicates. I’m not making that one up.

But I think sometimes we equate the parties, the lights, the trappings with Christmas with the feelings of Christmas. And if we don’t have that party, feel-good feeling, then we must be lacking a certain amount of Christmas cheer. May I suggest that we look at it differently? The outward expressions of the holiday season make me happy, but happiness is fleeting. Joy is lasting. What gives me joy is Christ coming to me. And not only that he’s come, but that he planned on it from the beginning. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word is God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made, without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men...The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-4, 14)

Christmas is about his coming. When Jesus first appeared as a baby, there was joy just as there is with any birth. There was also pain and heavy expectancy. The world was waiting for a savior and it got a baby. I’m sure confusion abounded as the cast of Christmas tried to understand what God was up to. Mary and Joseph tried to understand as well, but it was a slow realization at best. Today, I am often much the same. I try to fit the world’s version of holiday with God’s idea of Christmas all together into one little package. They don’t really go together. 

So lately when I struggle to find that happy Christmas spirit that we are expected to have this time of year, I remind myself that I don’t need to have happy go lucky feelings all month long. Jesus came in the midst of the mundane. He started a collision of the sacred and the everyday as he entered the world much like we all did, in blood and water, pain and trial. In the Advent season I realize that this month is as much about the fun party side as it is about the reverent expectancy of Jesus coming to me. We just can’t get too caught up in confusing one for the other. We’ll have our parties and our favorite movies, and more cookies than one person needs. But we don’t do those things because of Jesus. We do them because we like a good party and glitter looks good on everything. We have a party, but we also celebrate Christmas. Even if we had none of the exterior trappings of the holiday season, we still would have Christmas. We would still have Christ with us. And it’s okay to not feel that Christmas sparkle all month long, I’m sure Mary didn’t feel it at the Christ child’s arrival. She felt weary and exhausted, but full of hope and quiet reflection at he reality of what God in the flesh was. He came. He stayed. He lived and died. Then he rose again, victorious over death. He did it because we are so desperately needy for a savior, a rescue. And sometimes, my need of rescue sobers me. It makes me quiet and repentant, and so desperate for more of him.

You’ll just have to believe me, that I don’t have to have a party or cookies to believe and celebrate that one. 

1 comment:

  1. Yep, I'm right with you. Just catching up on all your Christmas posts and loving them. And how exactly is your house so tidy this time of year, I ask?? Mine looks like a bomb exploded in it, I'm sick, and way behind. So what am I doing? Catching up on inspirational thoughts about Christmas to remind myself of what I already know. It's not about all the stuff I'm behind on. It's about my needy heart. And I celebrate that with you, friend.


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