A couple of years ago I cancelled Christmas.
Well sort of.
I was overwhelmed with my three little ones and “making the rounds” to family festivities. Instead of a joyful time of year it began to be dreadful. The busyness. The commercialism. I felt like Charlie Brown yelling out, “DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT CHRISTMAS IS ALL ABOUT?”
So I decided to clear some things off of the holiday calendar. My kids are little (and not for long) so I (we) decided that we were taking back Christmas for our family. We wouldn’t travel to go see family. (We just did that for Thanksgiving!) We would stay home and let our kids enjoy Christmas Eve and ALL of Christmas day in their jammies, playing with their presents and drinking an endless supply of hot chocolate.
We also decided to re-focus our Christmas lense on Jesus. Don’t get me wrong- we love Santa and he is always welcome at the Clark house, but we want to make sure our kids know who the real Star is. Since restructuring Christmas around my little family, and refocusing it on the One who came to us on Christmas Day, I have enjoyed this season again.
In the beginning God said, “Let there be light.” And many years later a baby would be born. Jesus. The manifestation of God’s first command to a dark world.
So we strive for balance. Santa brings three gifts for our kids, because Jesus got three gifts. And while we make cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve, we enjoy baking Jesus a birthday cake on Christmas Day.
I love watching classics like Charlie Brown Christmas and new soon-to-be classics like The Star (Oh my sweetness, this will be a Clark Christmas tradition for sure!). We have an Elf on the Shelf, and baby Jesus shows up in the manger once we make his manger Soft Enough for a King.
And of course we read the Christmas Story from Luke.
I always get choked up when I think about Mary and all the thoughts that must have swirled in her head. Holding The Light in a dark stable. Comforting the toddler who would be her Comforter. Hearing The Word’s first words. Making a meal for the Bread of Life. Watching Joseph teach him how to handle wood and nails.
“And she kept all these things in her heart.”
To me, Christmas is a reminder that there is always Light. He brought light in the fragile body of an infant, so that we could know that we are capable of carrying light in our human bodies: these fragile jars of clay.
I hope this Christmas you and your family keep what matters most close to your heart, as you inhale life and exhale love, because that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown. (Make sure your subtitles are on for Linus’ speech by Andre age 3…)