It all collides in December….various parties, piano recital, school Christmas concert, church cantata, get-togethers with friends, both daughters’ birthdays, basketball practice and games, decorating, Christmas card sending, present wrapping, cookie baking.
These are all good things, occasions for gathering together and enjoying relationships and celebrating giving. But sometimes the good can take the place of the best. Rather than feeling like this month is chewing me up and spitting me out, I want to be drawn into the important moments with family and embrace the true significance of the season.
On my list this week is taking my girls shopping for presents for friends, getting teacher gifts, buying Nacho Cheese Doritos for a children’s Christmas party on Wednesday night, helping my younger daughter plan her birthday scavenger hunt, finishing mailing Christmas cards. I’m sure you have a list of your own.
I’ve been caught up in it all, but I know that if I don’t make the time to slow down and think about why Christmas is here, December will simply be one unending round of busyness. The Christ of Christmas isn’t going to intrude on my calendar unless I purposely put Him there. Even the giving that happens in these days can end up being about me, and not about Him, the ultimate giver.
It’s an age-old story. In the midst of a busy season of Roman taxation and crowded inns, Jesus came. I doubt it was all that quiet in the stable for a brand new mom away from home, with few material comforts, soon to be descended upon by shepherds. Yet I have to think she kept her mind’s eye turned to the true meaning of it all, as best she could understand it, since, upon the shepherds’ leaving, Mary “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” [Luke 2:19]
So what will Christmas be this year? Just the trimmings and the presents and the parties or an appreciation for the relationship that matters most of all, the One we can truly celebrate this year? And how will I show Christmas to others? Am I giving grace to harried shoppers and drivers and fellow moms? Am I loving my family and serving them?
Let me ponder, along with Mary, what Christ’s coming meant for me and for the world.