I have had some pretty awesome Christmases from mountains of presents that you could build forts out of (I think that was ’94 when I also got sweet pair of neon roller blades), to one year when my uncle dressed up in a very tight Elvis costume and was standing in the snow outside waving (I’ll explain later), and of course recieving my favorite gift ever, a Super Nintendo (favorite because we were told we would never have a gaming system, and then boom got it out of nowhere!).
We have some pretty awesome traditions too like the adults open gifts on Christmas Eve and kids in the morning, orange rolls and sausage balls on Christmas morning, and of course Christmas Eve service with our whole family with candles and Silent Night. We all think we have the best traditions and we defend them like our favorite sport team. I am in Florida right now and LaRae’s side of the family grill oysters and play horseshoes on Christmas Day. I am still getting used to it, but it is unique to their family. However you like to celebrate Christmas, whether it’s a full fledged debate between Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, watching Fargo instead of a typical Christmas movie, or exchanging cheesy Elvis gifts with other family members (hence the uncle in the Elvis getup), do it all to help celebrate Christ.
Once you start celebrating Christmas just for the the traditions and all those little details that make it feel like ‘Christmas’ for you, you will quickly lose sight of what this moment in time means/meant. I ask you to not think of the G rated version of the Nativity scene this year, but picture how it really was. Picture your wife (sister or mom) giving birth in an open air horse stable, no doctor, no midwife, no extended family, no medicine, no bed, no friends (oh and most of your ‘friends’ think you hooked up with your fiance’ or some one else did). Just a couple of animals hanging around eating and pooping where your son is minutes away from being born. And right after your son arrives, people that sleep outside almost all the time and that are viewed as lower class citizens, bring some animals that they are watching to come check out your kid, and there was no ‘do not disturb’ sign. Having a 3 month old, I can assure you, it was no silent night, it was dirty, it was messy, and that is exactly what God wanted. He wanted to show how much he loved us, by coming into the same world He spoke into existence as a fragile newborn, who could not survive on His own, and gave the first message not to the elite, but the outcast. Wherever you find yourself this year, next to God in close pursuit or far from Him and lost, God has a message for you and it is the same that it was thousands of years ago: He loves you and wants a personal relationship with you.
Merry Christmas everyone!