Last week, I flew from Dallas to New Orleans and back for a visit with some sweet friends from college and to see some other sweet friends tie the knot in Mobile! It was pretty neat to take off and see so many lights twinkling, it made the whole city seem happy and full of Christmas joy.
I'm not sure how to articulate my thoughts and feelings about Christmas. I will try not to make this a part two of my "I hate Thanksgiving" post.
I have some similar feelings towards the two holidays, but they result from different things. You see, I think we make way too big of a deal about Thanksgiving, and I feel quite the opposite about Christmas. We do not make it a big enough deal. It's so commercial, which I think cheapens the whole season and experience.
I'm very bad at receiving gifts. VERY bad. I love getting gifts that have been well thought out. It makes me feel loved when someone knows me and cares enough to think about something I would actually like, and buys or makes it for me for Christmas. On the other hand, when I receive a gift of clothes or shoes or something dumb that I don't want or need, I feel like the person who gave the gift (admittedly usually my mom or another family member) not only doesn't know me, but doesn't care enough to take the time to get to know me. And honestly, I'd rather receive nothing, because otherwise I feel guilty about them wasting their money. I know the value of a dollar and I'd rather someone pay off $20 of their credit card debt than buy me another damn scarf. It's all very selfish, I suppose. I don't know.
I also only like to give gifts that are well thought out. That's another reason why Christmas is stressful, because all of a sudden, you're supposed to give a gift to everyone at once and there's no time to think of each person as an individual. It can often take me a month to decide what I want to get for someone or to think of the perfect idea. (Hence, my friends who got married in August still have not received a gift from me.)
All of this is beside the point of Christmas though. Don't get me wrong, I love sitting in a dark living room in warm comfy clothes with a twinkling Christmas tree watching a cheesy Christmas movie on ABC Family with some hot chocolate and some Christmas sweets just as much as anyone could. But I don't spend NEARLY enough time contemplating the Truth of the Holiday, which is that this is the day that we celebrate the birth of the Savior of the World and the triumph of love over death. I've never been good at being patient and keeping the spirit of Advent in my heart during this season. The God of the Universe took on flesh so that He could intimately know me, and just for the sliver of a hopeful possibility that I would choose Him over myself, and live with Him in love for eternity. It wasn't even guaranteed that I would say yes, but just for the chance that I might He became a helpless little baby and carried a cross to His death 33 years later, and He would have done it all even if I were the only sinner on earth.
That is groundbreaking. That is earth-shattering. That is love.
Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God and Son of the Blessed Virgin, come to reign in our hearts and have mercy on me, a sinner. Be born in us this night.
Merry Christmas to you and yours!