Monday, December 24, 2012
I grew up in a family with a lot of traditions. Thanksgiving is really the beginning of the Christmas season for us. Starting with the annual watching of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in the morning. Thanksgiving itself was always a day full of food, family, and football - much like every other American family. Ever. The day after Thanksgiving, we decorate for Christmas, eat Christmas Cap'n Crunch, drink Dad's special homemade hot chocolate, watch "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street," and crank the Christmas music :) The Christmas music is pretty much a permanent fixture at that point until after January 1st. The number of presents we "traditionally" open on Christmas Eve is hotly contested (some years it was just one, some years we opened all of the presents with only stockings saved for Christmas morning), but we almost always went to a Christmas Eve service. Sometimes more than one. Growing up in Colorado Springs, we had quite the smorgasbord of options. Some years they were quite elaborate, such as the full scale production put on by New Life Church. Other years the church where my dad pastored held a sweet, simple candle-light service. Advent wreaths and readings, shopping, wrapping presents, the ever-growing list of Christmas "classic" movies that we would watch. All of it made for very fun and memorable seasons of my childhood. One of my favorite Christmas memories is the year I got to play Mary in a variety-style program. My Dad sang "A Strange Way to Save the World" , and my aunt helped me memorize and dramatize a beautiful reading. There's something about internalizing the emotions of those so closely tied to the original Christmas story that makes those Scriptures and stories come alive. And I think that's really the point. These traditions we create and pass on to our children are completely pointless and worthless if they do not build into our celebrations, and eventually bleed out in our lifestyles, deep appreciation for the true wonder of the season. The absolute magnificence and glory of the mystery that is the incarnation. Christ coming to earth. God condescending to become human.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.(Isaiah 53:4a NLT)
I hope that in the midst of all the craziness of Christmas, you know the true beauty of Christ, that you have personally experienced his unfathomable love for YOU! Because when it comes right down to it, that's all that really matters.
Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!