I'm normally the type of person who's got our Christmas tree up pretty early in November. I listen to Christmas music before Halloween. I'm even ok with snow until the day after Christmas. But this year, I just couldn't seem to get my heart into it.
Then I realized something.
My Christmas season wasn't about me. It's not about the traditions I create with my own family.
It's about Jesus. It's about sacrifice. It's about showing up.
I think sometimes we get so caught up in the cuteness of the nativity story. Who doesn't love a newborn baby? And maybe not everyone thinks about this (but I'm a hopeless romantic, so I do) but seriously, the love story between Mary and Joseph. Maybe not that they were pining for each other and gazing lovingly into each others eyes, but that they chose each other. They chose to model love to each other. Love that they hadn't even really seen yet. Man, that's good stuff.
When Jesus came into our world, he came knowing he had a death sentence. He lived for 33 years knowing what was going to happen, and still he chose us. He chose to come. He chose his situation and circumstance. He chose to be part of a low, struggling, broken people. He chose sacrifice- sacrificing himself, ultimately (and thankfully not permanently) sacrificing his relationship with his father.
Thinking of all that, it kind of makes my Christmas traditions seem silly. Yeah, Christmas caroling and nacho dip are great, but what's the point? Is the point of Christmas to create new traditions with my kids that involve Church programs and family parties and gives me the warm fuzzies? No. It's not. Those things are great and our family and our church are both gifts God has given us. But I suppose THAT'S the point.
God gave us a gift. Not a gift we open and shove in a drawer to keep forever, but, a gift that we have to keep giving.
This Christmas I'm choosing sacrifice. I'm choosing to show up in the lives of others. I want to teach my kids that Christmas isn't about gifts, or traditions, or parties. It's about loving others so deeply that we are willing to give the gift of Jesus. I want my kids to say, yeah, we had parties and nacho dip, but man did we give. And love. And give. And love. We showed up to be Jesus, and to gift love when people needed it most.
Thankfully, the Lord revealed all of this to me at the beginning of our Christmas season. As I sit down and organize our holiday calendar, I have the opportunity to make it look a little different this year. And I'm honestly so excited! THIS is what's Christmas spirit is!
Would you consider doing it with us? Consider how you can show up in someone elses life this Christmas and give the gift of Jesus.