Okay, I will admit it, I am a Christmas nerd! I can’t get enough of sappy snowmen and perky penguins! I love a beautifully decorated tree, Christmas carols, and stockings hung by the chimney with care, the works! It hasn’t always been that way, I used to dread the holiday and all its trappings. There was a time when the real meaning of Christmas was lost in the behind the presence of presents.
Every year I felt like a fool for not being able to provide for my children in a manner I thought they deserved. My self-worth was caught up in my net worth. I always fell short in the last category so I felt like I always fell short in life.
One Christmas, after unexpected medical bills, I ended up returning all the gifts I had already purchased for my kids. The oldest two were way beyond the playing with the box stage, they wanted actual gifts. I was so mad at God for allowing sickness to come at the wrong time and suck our checkbook into the red. And then the self-blame started to occur. If I would have planned better, saved more, budgeted better, etc. The list goes on and on. I loathed the holiday and the expectation that society had put on my family to provide the biggest and best gifts. I poured out my frustration to a friend while we were waiting to pick up our kids from school. Two days later, she showed up at my door step with $300 from her church’s woman’s group. I was grateful and humiliated at the same time. Simultaneously, I was elated and chagrined. There was no way I could turn it down, but I felt horrible accepting it. Ultimately, I took it for what God intended to it be, help in the hard times. Jesus with skin on. A friend in need. I was so appreciative and swore that I would never have that need again.
And I haven’t, I have scrimped and saved to provide meager gifts to sometimes ungrateful kids. Even after the gift of grace from my friend, I missed the importance of the Christmas. I let the world overshadow the gift of the king.
Then one year (last year), I came to my senses. When I wept in my van in the parking lot of that spiritual haven (Walmart) and gave Him everything I was, I GAINED everything I needed. Nothing about my circumstance changed that Christmas, but everything about me did. I was like the Grinch, the true meaning of Christmas was real to me. I don’t even know when I lost the wonder of the season. Somewhere in adulthood the beauty of the nativity was blocked by blinding lights of commercialism. When I lost everything, I finally realized I had everything I needed.
The snarky snowman smiled at me again with the joy of Jesus. The pious penguins were filled with the promise of the Christ child. The wonder of the holiday was upon me again. The joy of the promised king overwhelmed me instead of my lack. We couldn’t afford presents that year, but I believed and the Lord provided. We enjoyed Christmas lights and family games and Chinese food, and that was enough.
My love for Christmas returned when my focus changed from what I couldn’t give my children to what the Lord gave the world. He gave us everything we need that night in the stable, the rest is just superfluous fluff that is thrown away in a few years anyway. The true meaning of Christmas sustains me and feels me with joy, not the number of presents under the tree.
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.