This is a repost from Christmas last year...
Did you ever see the movie, "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas"? One of the short stories in the movie has Donald Duck's three nephews reliving Christmas day over and over. Until they learn the "true" meaning of Christmas, they reek havoc on Christmas morning. They hurt the family's feelings, ruin Christmas dinner, even cause the tree to fall, breaking all of the ornaments. In sad disbelief of the total disaster all around, the aunt cries out, "Some Christmas this turned out to be."
We expect Christmas to be "perfect." The decorations. The lights. The presents. The food. We expect it to be a Norman Rockwell painting.
Or....a Thomas Kinkade Christmas card...
Our Christmas was much more "Some Christmas this turned out to be" than Norman Rockwell or Thomas Kinkade.
We had gotten weather that prevented us from spending very much time with my family. What was supposed to be a whole weekend celebration of visiting turned out to be a few rushed hours spent with only part of the family making it due to weather. Hours spent planning and searching for "perfect presents" and anticipation to see their faces when they opened them were traded for the disappointment of leaving the gifts with relatives to be picked up at another time.
Brian had not been feeling well since Thanksgiving. So, with Daddy sick off and on, many of our usual traditions were not done this year.
My sweet friend Jamie passed away right before Christmas. Attending her wake and funeral made some holiday activities just seem irrelevant.
Illness struck our house. Many of the usual traditions were skipped because someone was sick. Even Christmas morning present opening had to be postponed due to the flu.
As I spent Christmas Day wallowing, praying, being angry with God, rebuking the sickness, asking for Jesus' healing....I thought about our message on Christmas Eve. The pastor had told us how his family had picked the "perfect" Christmas tree that year, but, even on Christmas Eve, that all of the "perfect" preparations were still not finished at their home.
He then went on to remind us that the perfect Christmas didn't have a tree, or decorations, or a fancy meal....the perfect Christmas didn't have Christmas cards.....the perfect Christmas didn't have fancy wrapped packages....the perfect Christmas had a humble baby in a manger that came to love and live and die for us. The perfect Christmas was when Jesus was born and His promise to all of us.
The "perfect" Christmas isn't about presents, but about His Presence.
In bed, Christmas Day, I thought about all these things....praying and pondering.
No matter what our circumstances. No matter what the weather. No matter if we get to "do" all of our favorite traditions.
Even if we "lose" a precious loved one.
These "things" don't "make" Christmas.
Jesus makes Christmas.
His gift to us makes Christmas.
His love makes Christmas.
The "perfect" Christmas was when a sweet young girl surrendered to her Lord and when her husband obeyed Him. They traveled to Bethlehem. There was no room in the inn for them to stay so they found a stable on the outskirts of town. Sometime during the night, a precious baby was born. A Savior. Immanuel. Messiah. A soft, warm, crying baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger. Angels glorified Him. Shepherds worshipped Him.
What a Christmas this turned out be! Hallelujah!