Christmas Longing, Part One

By December 6, 2010 culture, faith No Comments

Don’t you want more out of Christmas?

I’m not talking about more of the glitz and glitter and baubles and treasures.

I mean more meaning.

Being the overly-serious-yet-dreamy sort, I want our Christmas observance to be more than the typical rituals. The traditions of our culture, both the religious and the secular, wear on me—I don’t want to go through the motions of either one. I want to be passionate about what I am doing and why I am doing it.

You can see how this swirling of thought can lead a girl to cozy up with melancholy during what’s called the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

sigh.

This year, however, the swirling has eased a bit—thanks, Lord!—and that has produced some movement and momentum in my approach to Christmas in those two areas: the religious and the secular.

So as to not deluge you, my dear readers, with too much moi in one sitting, I am making this a two-post Christmas special. I’ll start today with some thoughts on the secular side of the season. Come on back for round two later this week.

I doubt anyone would argue against the notion that Christmas has been overrun by materialism. Expectations of the quantity and type of gifts that should be exchanged is decidedly appalling.

Movements such as the Advent Conspiracy inspire us to eschew the commercialism and focus on the reason for the season. Being part rebel that I am, I want to be the odd one who doesn’t do the stuff of Christmas. That’s fine, but I’ve had trouble finding a way of embracing it without being grinchy. I’ve thrown out the reason (Christ’s coming) along with the season (Christmas).

Well, a girl can be wrong. (This girl, in particular.) Now, I’m out collecting what’s been erroneously tossed out. Here’s how it came about . . .

Soon after Thanksgiving, as I thought about Advent and the Lord’s coming and what I didn’t want Christmas to be about, I was struck by the contrast between my attitude and the giving nature of God—in the Father giving the Son, in the Son giving His Spirit, in the Spirit giving us the comfort of God.

All that giving melted my frozen heart.

And all my ranting about why I believe that Christmas is more than the exchanging of stuff is not very cheerful, nor is it reflective of God, for He is a giver—the Giver. And I want to be like Him.

I want to be a cheerful giver, not only of stuff, but also of myself through time and words and whatever else the Lord may prompt me to offer.

God has been gracious to forgive the way I’ve maligned His character with my grouchy approach to the observance of His coming.

Forgiveness brings softened heart-soil in which new life sprouts, so I asked God to plant some seeds of giving in my heart, some ways I might bless others with little things—my words, my time, my very being.

Some of those seeds have already grown and produced some sweet fruit—and it’s only December 6! There are still a few weeks of opportunity and observance remaining.

I can’t wait to see what else I get to give.

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