Wednesday, December 22, 2010

On Christmas

When you're a kid, you just can't get enough of Christmas. The toys! The TV specials! The traditions! SANTAAA!!!

The Sunday edition of the Wichita Eagle comes out and you make a beeline for the comics and the Toys-R-Us insert.

"Oh my goodness. What COULDN'T I do with a Barbie dream house? The possibilities are ENDLESS! I could spend hours with it and have my friends over and achieve happiness of the highest levels..."

When I was REALLY little, I remember being incredibly concerned. We lived in a mobile home until I was 7 years old, and on TV, Santa always came down the chimney! Clearly, we had no chimney. How was I supposed to get my presents? Every year I would express my concerns to my parents.

"How is Santa going to get my presents to me?!?!?"

"Did you get your presents last year?"


"Santa will get them here this year too."

"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND!!! WE DON'T HAVE A CHIMNEY!!!" (I was 3 years old, mind you.)

"We'll leave Santa a key, and he'll get in. Trust us."

OK. Phew. Crisis solved.

That year, when I came out of my bedroom there was a play table and chairs, a set of dishes, and a doll with a highchair that clipped to the table and it was all set up. (The doll was Julie, the "Buck toothed doll" as Papa liked to call her. Thanks, Papa.) I think my parents still have a picture of my face. I was highly impressed that year. Santa was goooood. No chimney and he STILL managed to get my toys to me. And he even knew what I wanted. How DID he do it?

The next year, we were in Texas with my Mom's family for Christmas. I was watching the "Santa Report" on TV on Christmas Eve and according to the radar, he was gonna be there pretty soon. Mom was giving Willie a bath and she was simply NOT doing it fast enough.


"Katie, he won't get here until you're asleep."


"Katie. I can't hurry up with your brother's bath if you keep bothering me. Relax. Santa will come."

I huffed off and kept my pacing to the living room and bedroom until she was done.

Santa did come that year. But in my mind it was a close call.

There are countless other memories from my childhood Christmases. The year I wanted a Barbie power wheels convertible but I never got it because Santa "Couldn't get it into the house", the year our youth pastor told us there wasn't a Santa Claus, but I had to keep up the charade for Willie, when I was 13 and I got my first stereo (The first one that was all new and all MINE!)... The list goes on and on.

Then you "grow up" (allegedly) and it's still special, but not like it used to be.

I look at Christmas and I get sad because of what I don't have. It's not at all what I thought "grown up Christmases" were like. Now instead of happiness, I just feel stressed around the holidays. I still go to bed at 9 o'clock on Christmas Eve (at Mom and Dad's) so Santa will come. I wake up next to Cordy, I go to the living room and open gifts with the family. We get ready and head over to Grandma's to eat and hang out with the family. We go home, eat leftovers, watch a movie and go to bed.

What on earth do I have to be sad about? There are people all over the place who would kill to have what I do on Christmas! I have a warm place to sleep on Christmas Eve, I have a wonderful loving family to spend the day with, and I have food to eat!

I have completely taken Christmas out of context. It isn't about ANY of the above! It's not about food, family, and gifts! It's not about Santa or Christmas carols. (Even though all those things are very nice.) You would think I would know this since I was raised in church and all.

I was raised to know that God sent His Son to earth to be born of a virgin and He was born in a stable and He slept in a manger. It all sounds so textbook, but it couldn't be anything farther from normal!

I've read the story over and over. But this year, the magnitude of that situation finally struck me. Can you imagine being a young virgin engaged to a carpenter and being visited by an angel who tells you that not only are you going to get pregnant, but you're going to deliver the Son of God? What is Joseph going to think? What about her parents? Everyone in town?

They must've thought she was mental.

Even after you get past all that, you still have the logistics of the situation. You have to get on a donkey and travel a great distance, only to be told there is no room for you other than a stable. You're going to deliver your precious baby by yourself and lay him where the animals eat their dinner.

We read this story like it's a cute little fairytale, all clean and tidy and nice, but it wasn't.

It was messy.

It was impossible.

It was more than likely very smelly and disgusting.

But God had it all under control. He kept them from harm.

Was it uncomfortable?

More than likely.

Was it difficult?

I'm sure.

But God kept them safe.

Things can look bleak, and crazy and there's a great possibility for discomfort. (In fact, that's highly likely.) But it's all part of a bigger plan.

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:10-14 (KJV)

That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

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