Sure, I’ve already walked into more than one store and been maced with an almost lethal dose of artificial cinnamon gas. And I’ve seen more than a few Christmas commercials.
But on Thanksgiving, my wife and I will return home after visiting with family. We’ll put up our Christmas tree and the few decorations we own. And we’ll play some old holiday records. I will probably wear a sweater, and that will start Christmas in our house.
Christmas traditions are generally enjoyable to me. But my wife sent me a text at work the other day that got me thinking…
“I want to do something this year to really prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Any thoughts?”
Oh sure, I’ve got lots of ideas. Let me list them out…
…Crap. I don’t have a clue. Maybe you can help us?
What Are We Celebrating?
As I thought about how to respond to my wife’s sincere question, I thought to myself that we do plenty already! We put a bunch of crap on our walls, and we go to a lot of trouble to buy thoughtful gifts for people we don’t know how to shop for, and we drink eggnog, and we truck across town to go to your office’s party which is not my idea of a great time, and we drive to the middle of nowhere to see your relatives, and we listen to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want for Christmas Is You’ about a hundred times. Yep, I’d say Jesus is getting a pretty sweet party from Matt.
But she was right. I feel the same way. I’m feeling a little Charlie Brown-y.
We know how to celebrate Christmas. We’ve got that down to a science. We just haven’t figured out how to celebrate Jesus.
The Christmas Routine
When I was a kid, I really enjoyed opening the little paper doors on the advent calendar my parents would get for me. I haven’t had an advent calendar in years…and I don’t particularly care. I’m an adult now and I can have a piece of cheap molded chocolate any day I feel like it without waiting for the proper day on the calendar. I could buy an advent calendar and eat all the chocolate in one sitting if I want to. It’s not quite as magical, but being an adult rarely is.
And starting with advent calendars, Christmas has just sort of progressively lost some of its shininess to me. Maybe it’s because we don’t have kids. Christmas just seems to be turning into…I don’t know, a routine. Do these things, buy this stuff, go to that place, eat some junk. Rinse and repeat.
I’ve realized that most years, as long as the Christmas season is, with weeks of preparations and planning, when it’s over, I still feel like I missed Christmas. It’s like I just tuned the whole thing out and woke up in time for New Year’s.
Stop a Christmas Zombie
Okay, that was a really negative take on Christmas, I know. But maybe you can help me. I need help! Because I don’t want to be a Christmas grump. And I don’t want to zone out like a Christmas zombie for a month. So help my wife and I out. How do you not just celebrate Christmas, but celebrate Jesus? Do I need to go get an advent calendar? Or do I need to shake up my whole Christmas routine?