“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
I love this time of year. But I know that isn’t the case for everyone. I’ve had many conversations lately with friends and family who are frustrated about the holidays for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s money. Often the holiday season seems to be kind-of a let-down for people, failing to live up to the expectations and the hype. As I’ve grown older I’ve come to understand, and sometimes relate, to the disappointment people feel in December.
I’m also amazed at how differently people see “Christmas.” For some it is chiefly an opportunity to gather with family. For some it seems an opportunity for their relatives to pile on the guilt. Many parents are distressed about the role gift-giving plays in their holiday, and fear for the souls of their children as want-lists grow longer and more detailed.
Try as we might, it is nearly impossible to be completely in control of Christmastime. There are so many cultural, social, and family influences – even in our own hearts and minds as moms. We have expectations, we have hopes for a magical moment with our children, we have great ideas about how we can make this celebration extra special or different than all the rest.
Satan has done a great job at really messing with the day that should be a pure and innocent celebration of God’s love for us.
This year I’ve done a lot of reflecting about what Christmas is to me, and what it means to my kids. At our house, we like Santa Clause and we have a Christmas morning tradition that involves lots of presents and excitement. I love Christmas shopping (for the most part) and I really enjoy catching up with my cousins and aunts and uncles over a delicious meal. These things are a big part of my Christmas. But when I ask my kids “What is Christmas about, you guys?” They don’t hesitate to explain the birth of their Savior. Because Christmas day isn’t just about Christmas day. It’s about everything. All year long we are working, and growing, and learning, and teaching, and sharing. All year long we are making mistakes and asking forgiveness, and finding new reasons to be thankful, and praying to God that he fix our problems. And at Christmas it all comes together in one big messy human celebration. We aren’t going to get it quite right. But if we’re lucky we get one of those moments of honest giving; or of raw love. We see into someone’s vulnerable soul, because we are all a little vulnerable at Christmastime.
I want to encourage you to read 2 Corinthians 3:7-18. It’s not really within our ability to make Christmas the perfect tribute to our Messiah; the perfect birthday party. It’s nearly impossible to be completely in control of our Christmas. But we can have a bold hope that all year long God is working within us and within our families so that each Christmas we are better at making Christmas about Him. That each year we “get it” a little more than the year before. That each year we reflect a bit more of the Lord’s glory.