I have a love-hate relationship with the holidays. It’s the expectations and the hoopla. I shy away from events full of expectations and hoopla because there’s so much time and energy put into it, and in a moment, it’s over. Election Day? It’s over and we go on with our lives. Black Friday is almost as big as the holiday itself. Is it just me, or do things seem crazy?
Other than twinkly lights, vacation from school, kids all home, and Bing Crosby, the holidays give me angst. Gift-giving is my least favorite love language, and cooking is my least favorite domestic task. These things cause stress for me at holiday time.
Decorating and quality time? I’m all about that. But my kids aren’t too hip on sitting in the midst of sparkly lights and sharing the depth of their hearts while singing Christmas carols Bing style on Christmas morning.
And My husband told me not doing Christmas a few years ago was not an option. Scrooge.
The holidays are the best and the worst rolled into one. It’s some of the best human behavior on display, acknowledging intrinsic value of others and life. People helping people, etc. Memories being made, traditions bringing joy. For a few minutes, there’s peace.
Then there’s the reality check. After the hoopla, life still goes on. Cancer is still cancer, emptiness is still emptiness, and broken relationships are still broken. Baby Jesus is still the Savior and still will be accepted or rejected.
This morning, as I stand on the brink of the holiday season, I look around and my children have everything. More shirts, video games, or electronics will not make them happier than they are today. I hate having to come up with things to buy them just to put something under the tree. Really, I hate this part of the holidays.
My oldest spent Christmas Day in a Mexican orphanage five years ago. It impacted her deeply. She spent the summer in an orphanage in Guatemala and on December 29, she’ll be returning. Only this time, she’ll be going to the jungle to translate for medical teams assisting babies dying of malnutrition. She asked if we could buy shoes to take along to two little boys in the orphanage.
You bet. I like the way this girl thinks.
I hate the slogan “Jesus is the reason for the season,” because He’s the reason for every day, for every living breath. He’s the reason a mother can watch her child fight for their life when cancer overtakes their body. He’s the reason a father can cook dinner for his children when their mother has chosen meth over their family. He’s the reason a person can change their behavior because it causes havoc for those around them.
No matter how we dress it up, life is a choice with or without Christ every day.
More than people need Pinterest for the next recipe, they need the power, the truth, and compassion of Jesus who is not just a baby, but a King.
I’m challenged at how to give Christ as a gift this holiday season. When I die, boxes of trinkets and Christmas ornaments won’t mean a thing those left behind. So how can I make Christmas a daily experience of joy, giving the gift of Christ to others every day of the week?
I’ll be thinking about this as I listen to Bing inspire me to hang up the winter decorations this weekend. But I want to hear your ideas, too. How do you give the gift of Christ beyond Christmas, on the other 364 days of the year?