I'm trying to love Christmas. That sounds terrible doesn't it? I should LOVE Christmas. It celebrates the birth of my Savior. How could I NOT love this holiday? I'm a little ashamed to admit I don't.
I like a lot of things about Christmas:
- I like Christmas trees and decorating my house. This is the only time of year my house actually looks decorated. Any other month things are pretty sparse in here.
- I like mistletoe (which is easy to come by in central Texas) and I Christmas kisses too.
- I like sending and receiving Christmas photo cards by snail mail.
- I like buying egg nog for my guys who can't seem to get enough of it. How they can drink that soupy stuff I'll never know.
- I like Christmas music. Well, most of it. I hate the schmaltzy shoe song and the dogs barking Jingle Bells -annoying!
- I like loading up the kids, grabbing some hot chocolate and driving around to look at Christmas lights.
Get this - I hate the presents.
I hate the pressure I feel to find the things on my boy's lists that will bring them the joy they've been waiting for all year. (Joy that often seems so fleeting.) I hate feeling like if I miss the mark - buy the wrong brand or the wrong color or the wrong thing - I've ruined it. I hate that Christmas seems to come with discontentment, like if we only had more money THEN everyone would be happy because everyone would get more stuff. I hate knowing that for so many families Christmas means spending money they don't have and mortgaging future months for wrapping paper and bows.
It makes me want to scream!
Yes, I know. Of course, I know. This is NOT what Christmas is all about. But...IT IS. If you live in my world, in my sweet, safe suburban world - this IS what Christmas has become and I'm not sure what I can do to change it.
I don't want to go all BAH-HUMBUG and stop buying presents. Scroogette.
I don't want to let my heart shrink two sizes too small and hide away in a cave all season long. Grinchella.
So this is my prayer - God help me LOVE CHRISTMAS.
When an opportunity arose to attend a free Christmas concert, I jumped at it. First, it was free so it didn't require reallocation of the budget. Second, I like the music, remember?
THANK YOU to the artists of 1211 for Christmas Unplugged
It took me a while to decompress, to be in the moment. Paying attention. Listening. Not thinking about my to-do list or letting the shopping anxiety in the back of my mind seep to the front.
The candlelight helped.
I loved 1211's take on familiar Christmas carols. It was like hearing them for the first time. The second song got me. O Holy Night, not as the Christmas power ballad we've come to know but tender and repentant.
"O Holy night, the stars are brightly shinning. It is the night of our dear Savior's birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining..."
Like the grammar police, I had to point out the misspelling on the slide to my husband. (Did you catch it?) UGH! Why do I do that? "Jesus help me hear from you. To embrace this moment. This message!"
"...'til He appeared and our soul felt its worth."
Wait a second. Is that another typo? "OUR" soul felt its worth? I always heard "the" soul.
But this one word makes a difference. And it is rings true. Our soul. My soul.
Perhaps my soul has been searching for worth under the tree. (Click to tweet) Thinking my worth as a parent is found in making my children happy by giving them things. Do I want more money so I can buy them more gifts or for what their smiles give to me?
I can't ask my children to answer the question of my worthiness.
My soul feels its worth at Christmas, because of Christmas. Because God became flesh. Because of this gift given to me. A gift of love. A gift to love.
In trying to love Christmas this year, one thing I can do is rest in my worthiness.