It was about as non-Christmasy as you could imagine. No lights, no tree, no homemade cookies, no sappy movies on the TV, no family joyfully sitting around together singing Christmas carols.
Instead it was probably a little stressful, what with the impending arrival of a first baby, and the ONLY place available to give birth was in a place where animals poop. Seriously??? No family, no invitations into anyone’s home, probably no offers of joining anybody for dinner. To the common eye, just a simple baby being born, in the humblest of surroundings. Not glamorous, not kingly, and definitely not Christmasy. I don’t know if Christmasy is a word but I will keep using it.
But underneath the hay, the animal smells, the physical pain and recovery of childbirth, was MAGIC. It was meager on the outside, but the magic, the Christmas magic, was found in the awe-inspiring knowledge that Mary, a simple girl in Bethlehem, was holding the Son of God. There was a peace surrounding them in those circumstances that could only be found in the presence of the Almighty. There was a joy found in that fulfilled promise, that baby of HOPE, that went beyond loneliness and discomfort.
And then came the visitors. Again, the humblest kind. The had no gifts, no new holiday clothes, no food to share. But they came to worship.
And there were carolers. A whole host of angels. That is pretty magical.
So I confess that each Christmas, I want MAGIC. Especially the tree-decorating bit. I want hot chocolate, homemade cookies, happy children, laughter, lights, and a familiar movie on TV. And every year I struggle with this. Obviously everybody on social media is having a magical Christmas, and I confess I get a little jealous. Sure, there are people with life-threatening challenges and I really am praying for them, but I seem to forget that they might be looking for some magic as well.
Last year, it took me three days just to get the tree put together and decorated (it’s the hottest time of year and the work is dirty and tiring). A couple of years ago, we woke up the next morning and the tree had fallen over. Redoing a tree is not magical. This year, mice (or rats, but mice sounds better) ate all of our lights and ornaments.
How do you replace all your STUFF when you had committed to a “spend less” Christmas?
Is there a message here that I need to be getting? Cause my little attitude has been rotten and snapping at my kids when they ask “when we can do the tree?”. It has not been magical.
Where has the JOY gone? I think the mice ate it.
So with all the fake magical stuff gone, the cold weather, the lights, the ornaments, the need for any hot drinks, no parades or parties or desire to buy stuff or stuff to buy…. Where will the magic be? I still want a magic Christmas. My heart desires it.
All of us desire something amazing, awe-inpiring, beautiful to behold and experience at Christmas.
I am tempted to do something different this Christmas. I might keep it simple, keep it meager. Less of everything so there is more of Him.
The star is broken. Let’s fix it, paint it, make it beautiful and talk about how very special that star was, 2000 years ago.
The tree is simple. So was the stable. There was joy in the simplicity.
Our family is too far to visit. But there will be visitors. There will be the family and the friends that God has put in our life, to fill that need for community and fellowship.
I still want to decorate cookies and do traditional stuff with my kids so they can look back at Christmas as a magical time. But if I really stop to think about what has been consistent in their life at Christmastime, it may be that the tree is a fiasco every year. So I want to laugh at it. I want them to see that stuff does go “wrong” and stuff gets eaten by mice-rats, and stuff falls over and breaks. But JOY, real JOY should not be lost with the stuff.
God fulfilled his promise and that is what we are celebrating. If peace and joy are a result of that fulfilled promise, then whatever fun stuff we do at Christmastime, wherever we are and whatever traditions we follow or memories we make, should come as a result, not the other way around. Mary and Joseph’s joy was not because of the magic of their surroundings, but that simple nativity scene has become magical to us because of the JOY of the baby, of the king.
Meager can be magical if Jesus comes first.