Thursday, December 5, 2013

Jesus Isn't the Reason for this Party

It's Christmas time, and I'm confused again.
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.


  1. schizophrenic december. I like angst and confusion and humanity so, yes. Wait, did you ask a question?

  2. girl, you know how to say it!

  3. These. words. Straight to the heart I tell ya!!

  4. I love the honesty here and the emotion. December is a paradox...I try to find Him in everything, but He just gets harder to find.

  5. Amen. This has been pressing on my heart as well this year. Trying to teach my toddler about Christmas and what it means. I agree so deeply with this post. Let me know where it falls for you. Thanks for sharing

  6. I've never heard it said like this before. Thanks, once again, for making me pause and ponder. So well said!

  7. those words. these words. this jesus. our jesus. the reason. the only reason. amen

  8. Well said! I think Jesus would love to come to your party. And wouldn't it be great? Have Him pray over the food, and there would be leftovers for everyone to take home. I think it is hard, especially in the States, to keep the main thing the main thing. There's so much hype with all the advertising. But it sounds like you're doing a great job of grounding your kiddos and daily reminding them what real life is about. With all the feasts and celebrations that God implemented in the OT I have to think that He's into us celebrating Him. Merry Christimas

    1. For sure! Jesus knew how to party it UP in the NT, too. :)

  9. Read aloud to my husband just now. And cried.

  10. Our church needs an associate pastor. You interested? ;)

  11. amen. and take Jen's offer :)

  12. Every year for the last 5 I have felt more and more conflicted. Last year, though I bought presents for everyone, I truly didn't want anything for myself and not because of some Holier-than-thou self righteousness but because I was truly sort of appalled at the gimmegimmegimme attitude of our culture. I just wanted to opt out of that part of Christmas. It's kind of interesting when people ask what you want and you say "nothing" -- they regard you with great suspicion initially, then with thinly disguised irritation. Everybody wants something, don't they? Why are you complicating my shopping? I love the trees, the lights, the cookies (Christmas Cookie Butt, here I come!) and Christmas dinner, but the endless messages to buy buy buy are a huge turn off. Yesterday, I actually told someone "Christmas gives me a headache." Not the best vibe for this time of year, but a clear indication of how far this celebration has veered from the person at the center of it.

  13. An old Don Fransisco song says "At the center of the ages, God talks with a girl and by the words He speaks He gives a Savior to the world." At the center of the ages.....puts cold chills on me every time. Not just an annual event but the very center of all time. Thanks for making me look at that central event!

  14. Perfectly is your gift!

  15. I've really started to calm down at CHRISTmas. Things have gotten so far out of control at CHRISTmas and it scares and saddens me. Most retailers are sickening and all they want is our "holiday" money. My kids are only going to get about one present this year. I've been buying things for them (that they need) with my husband's CHRISTmas bonus, but I go ahead and give it to them early, because I don't want them to feel that is what CHRISTmas is all about.

  16. Yep, we are blessed when we remember the truth.

  17. my soul is in angst every single december.
    i decorate the house, go to cookie exchanges, buy gifts for my kiddos….
    and my soul is in angst….