I don’t know about you, but I love Christmas. I begin thinking about the perfect Christmas presents sometime around July. My decorations go up on Thanksgiving (but never before!) My favorite part of each day is moving our little mouse on the Advent calendar that was passed on to me by my mother. When the Christmas tree lights up each day, sparks fly inside my heart. Christmas movies (even the cheesy ones) find their way into my daily life the entire month of December.
I’m the one that still wakes up at 5:30 every Christmas morning, rolling over to call or text my younger sisters and make sure they are awake and getting ready for the day. It doesn’t matter that we went to bed past midnight … it’s Christmas morning … there’s something magical about it. I just can’t help it …
I LOVE Christmas!
So here we are, three days away from Christmas, and I find myself just not feeling it. Don’t get me wrong – my (mostly) handmade gifts are almost done. Just a few minor things to finish and several wrapping jobs to complete. I’m more excited than ever about Christmas Eve worship. And even more excited that we actually get to worship on Christmas day. Our plans to visit family (in three different locations) are made. Logistically, I am ready. But emotionally … I’m just not as excited as I usually am. I’m not feeling the Christmas love like in years’ past.
I’m not real sure why. Maybe it’s because I’m preoccupied with getting ready for my first child to make her debut in early February. The Christmas decorations that I usually think are so beautiful now seem like something that’s just taking up space. I mean … we live in an apartment … and we have lots of work to be done before the new baby arrives to make it seem like home.
Or maybe it’s the fact that we’ve turned the heat on two days the whole month of December. I have never been a fan of a white Christmas – but a hot Christmas? That is even worse. I want to bundle up and wear my flannel Christmas jammies. I want to curl up on the couch and watch movies and drink hot chocolate. And it’s just been way too hot to do all that.
As I wonder to myself why I feel so blah about Christmas this year I got to thinking … maybe that’s what Advent is really all about.
Are we really ever ready for the Christ child to come into our lives?
Think about it … this tiny baby, born in a lowly manger among the cattle … he grew up to be the most radical person in history. He came to change the world. Not just in tiny ways either … he came to bring the kingdom of God here on earth. He flipped tables upside down. He told the religious leaders where to go. He called people out of their comfort zones. Pulled people away from their families. Reached out to the untouchables. Spoke to the unspeakables. He really did flip the world upside down.
When I start to really think about who baby Jesus grew up to be, I think … perhaps the anticipation of the Christ child is not quite as exciting as it once was …
His arrival means we’ve got work to do. We’ve got a world to flip on its end. We’ve got lives to change. Sure – we celebrate the coming of Christ … because in Christ we are all freed. Christ represents true love. This tiny baby that grew up to become the most radical person in history … he is love. In the flesh. There’s no greater representation of who God is than Jesus himself.
Of course we celebrate his coming! In him, we understand our true identity as beloved children of God. But if in celebrating his coming, we aren’t moved to action, then are we really celebrating the true meaning of Christmas? Can we really celebrate this radical Christ child by merely accepting his love for ourselves?
I can’t help but think that only way to celebrate the gift of Christ is to spread that love to everyone we meet. In small ways and big ways. In mundane ways and in radical ways. To celebrate the coming of the Christ child means to embody what Christ was all about. And that can be pretty scary stuff.
Are you ready for Christmas?