25 December, 2014

Merry Christmas

Image via Lil' Luna
I must admit, the pressure on this time of year gets to me. As I have gotten older, the holiday season has become more of a somewhat isolating time. There is so much put on the “perfect family” and the “ideal gift” that we often forget those who don’t have those things. People who are alone (whether by choice, because of a job, etc.), people who are grieving, people who never got the chance to have those commercial moments. It is easy to look at those commercials, watch those TV specials, and listen to those Christmas songs and think that is what this time has to be.

But what if that is just not possible?

I had fallen into a pretty bad pity party at the end of last week. Measuring my life against those unrealistic Hollywood moments only left me with a deep sense of what is missing. I wanted the extravagant and perfect, instead of the simple and true.

Then a friend spoke truth to me and said that no one has the ideal Christmas. People are missing family, relationships are strained, people could not get home, the one person they want there isn’t.

Instead of focusing on how things are less than I’d hoped, I can be a source of grace and love where I am. For a plethora of reasons, this time of the year is just hard. It’s hard to get into the spirit; it’s hard to hold onto the joy this time should bring. But when I take a step back and remind myself of what is there – simple gifts that keep me going the rest of the year - I am able to remember that this season is not about what I can get but what I can give.

Beneath the bows and wrapping papers, the decorated tree, stockings, menus for Christmas Eve and the tension to create the perfect moment, is a greater story – the story of a baby born in a manger for you and me to have a direct line to God.

The grace of Jesus, there before the earth was made, came to life in that little baby born between the cows and sheep. Mary held her son tight, looking at a gift she could not fully understand, and realized everything had changed. Shepherds came to welcome him, the only visitors that first night. They went from being filled with terror to exuberance, telling everyone they met about the gift in the manger.

There is something truly telling in that moment. The humility and lack of pomp in how Jesus came into the world reveals the true heart of God.

It is not perfection he wants from us. Just like in this season – He is not looking for that Hallmark moment, with everything right and nothing askew. Instead He longs for honesty, humility, surrender and love. Simply come. Come and be you and let this time be what it will.

Merry Christmas dear friends. Celebrate with those who bring you closer to God. Remember the true meaning for why we pause today and spread some of His joy and love to those you come into contact with.

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© Amanda Lunday