My Christmas story
Updated: Oct 30, 2019
On Friday night I went to a baby shower for the friends I visited in Scotland two years ago. We gathered at the home where my friend used to throw Halloween parties each year. This time, it was decorated for Christmas. There was a tree in the corner with snow falling on the branches.
That’s right… snow! Well, it was miniature styrofoam balls, but it's important for you to know that there was an active snow storm in the corner of this house.
I brought gluten free cookies and we played a classic baby shower game: “Name that Disney Baby!” The mama-to-be got almost every single answer correct, and she of course won the game, as it should be.
It’s Christmas time and there’s new life coming into the world and I got to spend time with old friends last night. Friends that mean a lot to me. Friends that I hope I grow old with, trade baby pictures with and meet for coffee and dinners when our hair turns gray.
Christmas is a season that I often approach with a lot of hesitation. The magic I experienced as a child has been hard to find as an adult. I usually choose to work all the way up until Christmas and head back to work the day after. I often treat the holiday as just another day on the calendar. It is, and it isn’t.
There’s nothing really special about Dec. 25 or the socks hanging from our fireplaces or the green trees molting in the corners of our homes. There’s nothing out of the ordinary about cooking tons of food or stressing about Guests coming over. The Christmas carols are redundant. I mean… they play the same ones every year. What’s with that?
For all intents and purposes, Christmas is just another day. So, what makes it so darn special?
There’s a story we like to tell at this time of year about how a baby was born. A savior. We talk about how he was born in humble circumstances at an inn surrounded by animals and shepherds and angel’s singing joy to the world.
We like to talk about how this baby was Jesus and that’s where we usually end the story - with shepherds, wisemen, a stable and angels with hallows aglow.
We learn through stories and by example. We need to be shown the meaning of something before we can fully understand it, whether it is through words or pictures or hand motions. We need to experience this world in order to define where we are and our place in it.
If that’s how we learn… is it any surprise that God decided to send his son to show us the way? That the birth of this baby would be the start of a life story that would be a game-changer?
"God so loved us that he sent his only son that whoever believed in him would have eternal life." (John 3:16)
On this day, a couple thousand years ago, God’s love came down. It wasn’t what people expected. During that time, the Jewish people thought the messiah would be a savior that would turn the tide of their physical and political circumstances and position.
Instead, God sent a savior that was after more than our circumstances, he was after our hearts. He conquered through sacrifice and healing and putting the last first. He spoke truth to the religious people of the day that held onto power tighter than God’s heart and his Word.
I don’t always emotionally connect with Christmas cheer and the tinsel and snow.
But, I did at the baby shower last night. There was something about celebrating the arrival of another little one with people I love that made me think about Christmas differently. We all gathered in a family room to shared in the joy of a couple soon-to-be parents while they unwrapped gifts that would help them bring new life into the world.
I’m trying to understand what Christmas means to me, and it’s probably going to take a lifetime. I’m starting to believe Christmas is a season to celebrate the birth of something new. A new order. The start of a revolution in our hearts and how we choose to love one another.
We can choose to see Christmas as a witness to the light that came into the world, and it didn’t come how anyone thought it would. It came in the most unexpected of packages in the most overlooked places. Like a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, love is something we have to nourish and grow with the help of the people in our lives. Once it arrives, it is ours to take care of, and it’s a learning process. Love may walk soft and talk little and unexpectedly surprise you when you need it the most. It may bring laughter, tears, inconvenience and growing pains. Once a year, we are reminded that love isn’t something you can fit into pretty packages with bows and ribbons. And, thank goodness for that.
Love is the start of a revolution that will ripple our lives and those around us. It often begins in the forgotten places and most unassuming circumstances, when we are at our most humble and open.
It’s arrival brings tidings of the greatest joy.