Last year, I posted a series called (Re)Thinking Christmas because of my history for loathing the holiday for many, many years. I knew my heart needed to change; but I didn’t know how. So, I prayed – and I had other people pray – for God to change me. As with anything God does to change us, it’s been a process.
The process began with Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God concert in 2009, and it continued as I wrote each (Re)Thinking Christmas post during 2010.
This year, however, I’ve started to observe some pretty awesome results:
I didn’t flinch the way I normally do when I see the holiday decorations (except for scowling at an elf but only because he was working before Thanksgiving).
I didn’t brace quite as stiffly when I heard the first Christmas song.
But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I did let out a small sigh and wondered if I was ready for another Christmas.
As I was chatting with my counselor this week, I had an epiphany that might be Christmas-changing.
I realized that my struggle with Christmas was not because my dad is no longer here or that my family doesn’t get along or because Jesus gets overlooked. It’s because I have had a white-knuckled grip on a childhood dream of the ideal Christmas.
I used to believe that in order to have a merry Christmas a family needed to be involved.
I mean – the world screams FAMILY at us this time of year with…
kids sitting on Santa’s lap;
holiday family photos on Christmas cards;
and parents lovingly picking out the best toys for their children.
All of these things are really, really good things.
Family is great.
Family is awesome.
Go Team Family.
But, when you lose a loved one, or harmony among the family is lost, and your belief system tells you that family is necessary for you to be merry, its a recipe for some loathing.
So, this year, I’m letting the blood rush back into my knuckles and taking my grip off of my dream that a happy family (or any family for that matter) is necessary for me to enjoy the festivities around me.
You see, contrary to what the world tells us, Christmas is not about family – it’s about God. It’s about a God who loved us so much that he became one of us. He lived among us and walked among us.
I don’t need the perfect family in this world to celebrate the fact that I am a member of an eternal one.
So, Merry Christmas y’all, from my Family to yours!