Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her king. Let every heart prepare him room, and Heaven and nature sing. Brilliance. I could just stop this blog post there, because if we really understood and took the time to follow the words of this, my favorite Christmas song, we would all have a merry Christmas.
I know there are many feelings that Christmas brings out in people. For some it is a time of sadness because they’ve lost people, or have no people to celebrate with. For some, they feel harried, stressed and overwhelmed. A friend told me the other day that they had to go to four different houses for Christmas to keep all of their family happy. This makes me as sad as the first reason to hate Christmas … and makes me very happy to be in the non-demanding family that I belong to.
I usually do all the Christmas things. I make an Advent Calendar, we look at Christmas lights, we go to The Nutcracker, I wrap presents, we go caroling, everything. I love Christmas. This year has been slightly different because we decided to participate in our church’s production of “A Christmas Carol”. It was brilliant. They made it snow … they created the creepiest graveyard imaginable, my scene as Mrs. Cratchit made people cry. I consider that an accomplishment, though whether it was the brilliance of my acting, or the crumminess of my acting that made tears flow, I don’t know. No one would tell me. The acting of our Bob Cratchit was beautiful. It was probably him that caused the tears, but I’m taking some credit anyway.
So this Christmas, we’ve done two days of the Advent Calendar. We have at least gone caroling. I’ve lost track of how many candy canes my children have eaten. I’ve introduced my husband to the wonderfulness of the movie “Elf”. Christmas mission accomplished. I don’t let whatever this month is lacking bother me because of the song I copied at the beginning of this post.
There are many things that we Christians have probably misinterpreted about the Bible. There are too many verses that we modernize to suit our selfish lifestyles, or to make ourselves feel better about ourselves. There are verses that we misinterpret because we simply cannot fathom God and His ways. There just isn’t a scenario in which our tiny human brains can explain the complexities of the Creator of the Universe. But, as we belted out “Joy to the World” onstage Sunday afternoon, and the audience joined us, this is the thought that crossed my mind, “we are getting this part right.” What could possibly be more worthy of an entire month of celebration than the fact that Jesus came here to save us? What could be more important than earth receiving her king? Even Santa doesn’t bother me anymore since I heard this delightful explanation from my friend Erin Crawford, “My Dad always told me that Santa is real. Santa is the love that parents have for their children.” Now that’s a Santa I can believe in!
My Dad always told me that Santa is real. Santa is the love parents have for their children.
So if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed with all the “things” of Christmas … remember this. If you have Jesus, you have a reason to be joyful. Forget the rest. Kids don’t need that many presents to be happy. They need love and hugs and kisses and you. Give them the gift of your time. Your extended family doesn’t have to drain every second of your holiday. You can make a rule like my husband did years ago and just say, “Christmas day, we stay home. You are welcome to come to us, but we’re staying home.” This rule has created lots of peace for our Christmases. Our family is loving and understanding, and sometimes they come over. That’s awesome too. There is a reason for this season of celebration and it is the most worthy of our excitement ever! Our king, our savior, the fixer of all our broken hearts, He came. He lived. He died. He’s alive again and building an eternity to spend with us. I’ll see my daddy again someday because of Him. I’ll hug my grandpa, uncle and cousin again one day in a perfect place with no more pain and heart break. That is worth a month of parties!
I’ll finish with my favorite poem of all time because it talks about all the brokenness He fixed because He sacrificed His place in heaven to come to earth and die for us.
The Miracle of Dreams, by Susie Best
That night when in Judean skies the mystic star dispersed its light,
A blind man moved within his sleep and dreamed that he had sight!
That night when shepherds heard the song of hosts angelic choiring near,
A deaf man stirred in slumber’s spell and dreamed that he could hear.
That night when in the cattle stall slept child and mother cheek by jowl,
A cripple turned his twisted limbs and dreamed that he was whole!
That night when o’er the newborn babe the tender Mary rose to lean,
A loathsome leper smiled in sleep and dreamed that he was clean!
That night when to the mother’s breast the little King was held secure,
A harlot slept a happy sleep and dreamed that she was pure!
That night when in the manger lay the Sanctified who came to save,
A man moved in the sleep of death and dreamed there was no grave!
May your Christmas Season truly be merry and bright!