The faintest woodsy scent mingles in a fog of morning maple syrup and last night’s lasagna and meatballs. Her piney cone shape glitters with miniature glass figurines. But she remains dark. We forgot to flip the switch this morning.
The kids bumble up the stairs to see what package has her name on it. But the gift pile is puny. We’re adjusting to our new family culture; materialism is out and appreciation for the basics are in.
We don’t want to conceive greed, entitlement or false expectation and corrupt their blooming hearts. So we restrain ourselves from swiping for big ticket items. However, I question our tactics.
A singular small bag of torn red and gold paper taunts me from the corner. Guilt hums in the background. Was I failing to give them a Christmas worthy of childhood memories?
This Christmas, my expector is way up. Nostalgia and its selective memory are in full bloom like leafy poinsettias fulling the doorsteps.
But I’m conscious of it.
I keep asking myself why I love Christmas so much. Finally it dawns on me, Christmas has the potential to quench the thirst of all Five Love Languages.
- Physical touch
- Quality Time
- Acts of Service
- Words of Affirmation
We hug when we see family for the first time in a while. We sit long and talk much. Meals and gifts are served in plenty. We high five each other for a year well lived.
The probability to give and and receive each version of a Love Language raises exponentially at Christmas.
But my expectations spike disproportionately to reality.
And I am left wanting.
We are family. We love each other. We look forward to Christmas every year. But after a few hours and a few meal preps, our personality glitches surface. Insecurities pop-up wearing masks of anger. And we silently lob blame on each other for hiccups throughout the day.
I serve dozens of cookies hoping to bake Christmas memories for everyone. But do they even care? Is the duty of cleanup distributed evenly? Are those being served noticing? Do I notice, or am I taking others for granted? And the gifts. Did I get the right ones? Is it enough?
Christmas hopes freeze over in a cool self-preserving chill.
24 hours of Christmas binging passes, and I sit alone next to the now lit tree. I guess someone finally flipped the light switch.
I hear needles tinckle to the floor as her branches slowly shed them. Missed bits of wrapping paper crunch underfoot as family passes through the room.
“Jesus, hi. Are you here?”
“Hi.” He replies.
“I’ve been here with you all along.”
I can almost picture Him sitting next to me. His arm relaxes over the back of the couch. A soft crescent moon smile spreads across his smooth olive complexion. Crows feet reach from his eyes toward his cheeks.
The space between us fills with the warm breath of His love.
It becomes Christmas in that instant.
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)
I was looking for Christmas everywhere. But Christmas is first within me. (2 Corinthians 4:6)
Then as I sit with Him, I see Christmas twinkling throughout the last 24 hours in tiny moments of love. Its in the kids playing together without fighting. Its in the first hug I give my mom when I see her after a few months. Its in the gourmet fare my aunt lays out before us. Its in the full table applause we give her for a 5 star meal. Its in the custom Christmas cards our 9 year old pens for everyone.
Christmas is all around. But, first, He is born within the vulnerable shelter of our hearts. (Luke 2:11-12)
Did ‘the best time of the year’ leave you hoping for more?
Reach within my friend. Christmas is inside your heart all year.
Jesus is drawing near to you right now.
If you never received Jesus into your heart, today is your day. This will be your best Christmas yet.
Let’s pray together.
Dear Jesus, I believe you are real and Your love for me is real. Please come into my heart and into my life today. I give you my heart and my life in return. Teach me who You are. Amen.