A glittery Christmas without a proper spiritual framework is like bad liturgy. We can add all the lights, elves, guitars and electronics we want but at the end of that hour, we're left feeling like somehow the season (or the Mass) has failed us. We have decorated and hustled to please ourselves and not God. We have thrown ourselves into the wrong things and forgotten what we insisted last year we would never forget again: Jesus.
So here I sit on the threshold of Christmas with that familiar feeling of combined adrenaline, fatigue and dread. The excitement and mystery are gone for the moment... because I know all the details of the elaborate preparations. I am immersed in them. No magic elves come in to cook the food and wrap the gifts. That's on me. I made the plans and now I have to get it done. And when it is over, will I breathe a heavy sigh of relief? Or will I fall asleep with the scent of incense in my hair and a prayer on my lips? Or both.
I don't know that it is possible to take the ego completely out of the human condition. But I have one more day to get this a little closer to right. Although there was no blog post scheduled for today and I really don't have time... I needed to write. Because I need the accountability. It's going to be a busy, challenging 48 hours or so and I just want to make it perfectly clear...
Christmas is not about me. It's about Him.
It's not my job to push and force the feeling of joy. I am only called to come to the manger with my best... and adore. He has something to give me and I want to be available to receive it. If I fail to feel any particular emotions of excitement or happiness, it is not a failure of Christmas... it is simply the emotion of the moment. Neither here nor there. Christ comes as He will and not always on a flurry of twinkles.
His birth room was a cold and stark place. And there was joy. It is proof that the busyness we burden our families with is not necessarily appropriate at all. The feast is for Him. The celebrations are for Him. I've forgotten... again... and I have one more chance to prepare my heart beautifully to receive Him. There are some things that are going to go undone today. I must decide that my time with Jesus isn't going to be one of them.
So I'm adding one more thing to my preparation list even though it doesn't really fit anywhere in the original plan. I'm going to adoration. To sit quietly and do nothing except be with Jesus.
May your preparations be a time of authentic joy. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts this Christmas season and forever!