Friday, December 21, 2012
"...and THIS is Christmas?"
For our first Christmas tree that first year we were married, my husband and I went to a tree farm and he showed off his manly manliness for his bride by single handedly cutting down the tree carefully chosen after much (much!) deliberation. We hauled it up to our second floor apartment and proudly strung lights and hung ornaments.
We had precious few Christmas items that first year of our married life. Oh, we had several ornaments for our tree, my mom saving and adding to a collection of ornaments from the time I was a little girl. But beyond that there was little else with which to deck the halls.
For that first Christmas, I did purchase a white nativity set at a local craft show during my work lunch hour. Upon returning home from work that afternoon, I eagerly unpacked each piece, carefully placing it in just the right spot in the center of our kitchen table. Yes, the kitchen table. We had no other piece of furniture on which to place it! Mary, Joseph, the shepherd, the angel, the three wise men, the camels, the donkey, the sheep, all took their respective places in the Christmas tableau. That is, except for the baby Jesus. He was missing. Absent. Nowhere in the box. AWOL.
Providentially, the box had a sticker on its side containing the name and contact information of the seller. I called her and described my dilemma. She laughed and said, "It doesn't really make much sense without Him, does it?" She promptly mailed me a baby Jesus figurine.
I thought about her comment a couple of weeks ago as Christmas decorations and boxes and wreaths and other Christmas debris littered my den and dining room in my feeble attempt at decorating (or, not, as the case may be). I thought to myself, "and THIS is Christmas?"
I thought about her comment this week as I've hurried and scurried and rushed all over town to shop, shop, shop and spend, spend, spend, asking myself "and THIS is Christmas?"
Today I stood in (yet another) line, and commiserated with another mom as we complained of the frenzy and frantic busyness that mark Christmas, both of us confessing we hate it and how relieved we are when it's over already and I thought once again "and THIS is Christmas?"
It doesn't make much sense without Him, does it?
May my celebration of Christmas be marked by a sense of gratitude and awe. May I remember, and be thankful to God for, His indescribable gift. May I forgo the false gods of materialism and perfectionism and consumerism and instead worship the Only One worthy. May I rejoice, not in shopping or decorating or in giving and receiving, but that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory full of grace and truth. Let's behold His glory this Christmas season as we look beyond the manger to the cross and to the sacrifice of our Lord that accomplished for us forgiveness and redemption and life everlasting. Let us see Jesus!
Author's note: This post originally appeared on my personal blog in December 2007.