Christmas Must Be Something More

This afternoon I was quickly headed toward full melt-down status. This holiday season, I’ve been so adamant about everything being “perfect” in our new house. My plan was to create a Pinterest-approved, “Rustic Glam” Christmas. Hues of golds, pearls, whites and silver were all I could focus on.  It was elegant, classy, grown-up and just what our little house needed.

However, life doesn’t always follow your plan. (Wait, what?) Life likes to do its own thing, and right now life has put my family on a “budget”. And people on budgets can’t really justify spending $300 on new Christmas decorations, especially when they already have boxes upon boxes in the attic.

My husband pulled down the boxes and I started unpacking the decor. We’d just had a stressful chat about our (read: my) spending lately, and I was starting to realize I’d have to “make do” with the decorations we already had. It was supposed to be my favorite time of the year…my favorite day of playing a Christmas movie, joyfully decorating and living out this tradition with the man I love.  Except, I wasn’t joyful; I wasn’t blissful at all. In fact, I was what some might call a Grinch. I opened a box and saw greens and reds, decorations without a theme, lights that didn’t match… what was this? This isn’t what I wanted. This isn’t what I planned.

And as I started wallowing in self-pity over the fact that I spend my days working and can’t afford to decorate EXACTLY how I wanted this year, my sweet husband reminded me of something.

“At least we have decorations. Some people don’t even get a tree.” 

Y’all. Typing that out stings harder than when I heard it just a few hours ago. I’m ashamed that I let the commercialism of this season consume me, and that my husband had to even remind me of that fact.

And then, I was reminded of the fact that a little over 2,000 years ago, a little boy was born, wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger because there was no place for his mother, a mere teenage girl, to give birth to the Son of God. (Luke 2:7)

And I type this with tears in my eyes because I’ve been bitter over the fact that my house won’t have gold decor, while my SAVIOR was brought in to this world to save ME in a smelly, dirty, chilly manger.

And that’s Christmas, y’all. Not these decorations. Decorations are great but when they become my Christmas, I know something in my heart has to change. 

Christmas is about a little baby, who roughly 33 years after his birth would suffer the most unthinkable torture, just to give ME a shot at redemption. A little baby who would one day CHOOSE to give ME—a selfish, self-centered, materialistic, wretched sinner—His grace. To tell me that despite all of these things, he loves me, he accepts me, I am beautiful, I’m forgiven and I’m His.

Christmas is about the family that doesn’t get to put up a tree but praises the Lord for the minimal things they do have. The family that, on paper, shouldn’t be joyful, but they show joy and gratitude in all they do because they understand the meaning.

Christmas is about getting to watch my husband and my father, the two most important men in my life, build on their relationships and experience putting lights on our new home together today.

Christmas is my mother saying she would rather us donate gifts and time to someone in need than spend money on each other on things that will some day end up on a shelf in the linen closet.

Christmas isn’t about the gifts, or the decorations, or the lights, or any of the stuff that I’ve let it become. Those things are great. And those things help make an already amazing holiday even better. But when I forget the real meaning and let myself be overtaken by those things, I know it’s time to reset. So here I am, resetting.

I’m human. I’ll never, ever, ever be perfect. I’ll probably experience this again, but thank that little baby Jesus for reminding me that each time I fail, His Grace is enough, and that my human is nothing compared to his Holy. All I have to do is reach for his hand.

I did end up decorating the house with what we had collected over the years, and no, it wasn’t what I planned, but it was perfect in my eyes because I was reminded of what all of this is all about… Our $2 Walgreens stockings from when we first started dating, our gaudy ornaments that each have a special meaning or memory behind it, and our beautiful tree that shines brightly through the front window are all reminders that we aren’t perfect. We are ever so flawed, but these flaws make us whole, they make beautiful, and He loves us, just as we are.

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