It happens every year, or at least in recent years.
I haul out the tree, the wreaths, the stockings. I hang the creep babies. Set up the nativities. Troll the internet for cookie recipes. Plan my craft party. Make lists.
I fill our schedule and light a candle that smells like pine or cinnamon because someone along the way decided that's what this season smells like.
I shop and buy because I finally have a reason.
And it's so much fun.
But somewhere along the way, I start to feel like the joke's on me.
Who am I kidding, pretending Jesus is the reason for all of this? The truth lurches over me. I do this stuff because I like a party. I love to bake and toss glitter around.
Jesus isn't the reason for Christmas, or at least not the way we celebrate it.
He is The Reason.
For me. And you.
This wide world.
Every single day.
He's the reason I rise in the morning, the reason I spend my little life doing small things.
He is not the reason I itemize Christmas lists or sniff out deals.
It's like we need two separate parties, though I'm not sure a party is what he's looking for.
He came to us in the dead of night, to a place where almost no one was watching for him.
He came small, without a word.
He could have made such a splash.
But he hid in his own magnitude and begged us to remember, begged us to hold close his dusty welcome and the missing fanfare when our hearts beat small and we're twitchy in the shadows.
He never asked for festive curtains or eggnog.
Trust me, I don't think all this fanfare is bad, necessarily. (The festive curtain thing may, in fact, not be a theoretical example...)
But I want to be careful to not misuse Jesus as an excuse for my party.
I want him to be more than the parenthesis to my hoopla.
I want to spend my whole life thinking of the way all my waking moments hinge on that chunky, squaking baby.
I want to reflect on his coming just as much in March as I did in December.
He came to us, in all his tiny glory.
He came in a way that still has us scratching our heads.
He came as an example to live so much lower than what our flesh craves.
He came with nothing else, a reminder that all we need is simply Him.
I don't have an end to these riddles tonight.
I bought 3 rolls of weirdo-cool vintage wrapping paper today for $1 each and I'm itching to use them.
I have imminent plans to sew up a decision on Saturday's annual cookie bake.
We reconsider the way we give and do our best to honor and remember the moment his breath kissed our world.
I'm here in full-on party mode, doing my best to feel the weighty pulse of my rescue.
It's tricky and messy, like all of life.
And that's why he came.