It was busy at home Friday afternoon. Company was coming and their arrival was something I anticipated greatly but I went upstairs to stay out of the way and take a little nap. Our cat, Magoo, was already snuggled in the blankets and Twitch soon joined in a sea of blankets. I got a good nap before Lisa came home.
We recently installed laser lights in front of the house. These lights “shotgun” red and green, led dots which make it appear as though the house, garage and pergola have been covered with lights. Some of these little dots even travel through the house windows and into our living space. That’s what happened when I awoke from my nap with the cats just before company arrived. As I saw these festive green and red lights on the ceiling of our bedroom, I knew it-Christmas was here.
It is time to prepare myself for Christmas and here is a laundry list of the things I will consider this Christmas.
I want to think of the birth of Jesus in real terms. I do not want to think about the manger scene in the soft, warm, comfortable way it is often depicted. I want to think about how vulnerable Mary and Joseph must have felt. I mean Mary was carrying a child through immaculate conception. They were poor, they were traveling far from home and they were responsible for this child.
I also want everyone to think about expectations of Christmas; do not expect anything-nothing. Christmas is not about you, it is about the celebration of a gift you already have-life everlasting. You may expect everyone to make it home, to eat the perfect Christmas meal or to have your home decorated better than last year. If you achieve some of these goals then that is great. I would prefer you do these things by accident and focus on contemplation of the gift you hold in your hands every day of your life.
Failed expectations lead to depression. How many articles do we need about depression at Christmas? I want to turn the boat on Holiday depression by removing useless, impossible expectations. Just accept what happens; accept it if you have to work on Christmas, accept it if your son or daughter has to celebrate with the in-laws instead of you and accept that the true gift of Christmas is to accept the gift of everlasting life brought by birth and death of Jesus. A personal note, the specific date of the birth of Jesus is not important. We celebrate the birth of Presidents Lincoln and Washington on the same day which is not either their actual birthday. Does that mean they don’t exist?-of course not.
I want everyone to think of how they feel when a son or daughter leaves for college. Now imagine that that same son or daughter is not leaving for college but instead to live a portion of life and then die young. Not a chance of dying young but an absolute fact that they will die young-and horribly. God saw that his creation was wildly sinful and needed someone to die for their sins. To die for these sins, the person would have to be born as a representative of humanity. To represent us, that person would have to be born human. That is the celebration; the King of Kings sent his son from safety and power to be born into danger and vulnerability so that he could suffer and die for our sins. God loves us that much and that is the gift you were given on Christmas-eternal love.
Put aside the expectations, put aside the distractions and set your mind to what is really going on-Christmas is here.