It’s a small talk question that gets tossed around a lot this season. In light hearted fashion, it is a question of- “are your gifts bought, wrapped, and ready to give? Have you shopped til you dropped and gotten the best deal on all you purchased?”
Here is a similar but very different question to you as well...
“Have you you prepared for Christmas?” Meaning— are you excited to celebrate Jesus? Have you pondered his story— which is our story? Have you drummed up excitement with the kids for the Savior of the world? Amongst the trees, decorations, and music, are you living out the Good News of Jesus?”
I have become much better at this in recent years.... I hope to become better at it in the years to come. I very specifically remember last December 25th around 10 pm... our living room and dining room were much too cluttered with bags and boxes, and unwrapped things from a day’s worth of journeying from gathering to gathering with our little ones. We were tired and the kids were in bed. I shook my head in disbelief at what the day was to me. I journaled the following passage last December 27th:
In true Charlie Brown fashion, on Christmas night, I was disgusted by the amount of STUFF in our dimly lit living room. It was shameful, and I all I could think was, “This will all be in Goodwill, a garage sale, or the garbage in a number of years.” Why the guilt? It was a lovely Christmas Day, but I could not shake the thought of this holiday is Americanism at its worst. We have big debt, big waistlines, big houses, and big vehicles. We say ‘no’ to very little and indulgence is a way of life for most.
My own grandma’s childhood was spent during the Depression, and she and her siblings visited the local dump to get their shoes. I have heard that story recounted many times, and it makes me wonder how much the course of America’s consumerism has gradually spiraled to exponential proportions because of a majority of families struggling all those decades ago.
Alas, I realize this will happen year after year, as gifting is what we do, what grandparents do, what aunts and uncles do. In our home, I am trying very hard to minimize the “Santa and stuff” of the day and magnify the Savior of the day. Although we aren’t completely minimal, we do try to be practical in the gifts we choose. So with a little less hum-bug and guilt, I will ride the waves of gifting this year... as I will be “prepared” for what the holiday truly means.
I just finished a reading that talked about anyone who is a Christ-follower knows that Christmas doesn’t end because December 25 is done. We cannot limit the joy of God-coming-to-Earth to one day of gift giving. We hold that joy daily for the next 365 days.
Let me leave you with the author’s final thoughts, “This Christmas is different because you are different. You are a child of the Light. You are walking in the Light. Yes, you can still blast the holiday songs, binge on Hallmark movies, go crazy getting gifts, eat way too many sweets, and turn your home into Santa's Wonderland. However, this Christmas, for you, isn’t fixated on those things because you are choosing #LessChaosMoreJesus. There won't be a "so this is all?" feeling after the last gift is opened because it's not over; you are just getting started.
God is everywhere, and He has called you to walk in the Light and shine it everywhere you go.”
Merriest Christmas to all my friends and family. Shine on, long after the day of celebration!