I’ll be home for Christmas…

I’m reflecting on Christmas….

Well, how could I not at this point when its existence is blared at air horn like decibels from every angle.
In a way, I can appreciate the music and lights and the glare of it all because it forces me into the Christmas mood, but under all the tinsel and wrappings I’ve been seeing some things.
This is our first traditional Christmas in several years.  By several, I mean that I can’t think of the last time.  By traditional, I mean we will be in our home on Christmas morning, and there will be some presents.
No matter what, we always put up much too big of a tree to fit in any house.  Our eyes our bigger than our tree stand, if you will.  It makes for a spectacular entrance into our home, but then there’s that part where you practically have to turn sideways to squeeze past it into the living area.  
We always go choose it as a family and then put it up and decorate the house on Thanksgiving weekend to the same Christmas songs (I always cry at the right part of the right song), we drink egg nog and have creamy turkey soup.
And then, a few weeks later, with no presents under the tree, we undress it, clean it all up and get the heck out of dodge feeling like escapees.  We skip all the get-togethers and do what we love most–ROAD TRIP!!  We find restaurants of other cultures that are open on holidays and feast.  No breakfast casseroles for this group! And then we say “Merry Christmas” to each other as we open the door to some great lookin’ deal with a view in some warm climate.  Ahhhhh….I love Christmas Kirksey-style.
Not this year.  This year, with two newlywed, working children to consider and for a couple other reasons, we are going to do the thing.  Sigh.
At least once a day, I put aside the visions of ocean waves dancing in my head and instead look at amazon.com.  
And, I must admit I’m kinda excited.  We’re keeping it simple–the budget is small on purpose.  There’s no need to be ridiculous, but I’m enjoying some of the suspense of choosing things for my favorite people and wrapping things and putting them under the tree to make them guess–that’s so weird!  And we won’t be having things too traditional.  For instance, we won’t be using any silverware to eat our meal on the big day…;o)
But there’s a thing I’m observing everywhere I look and listen.
Christmas baggage.
The ghosts of Christmas past, if you will.
Folks aren’t always as merry as all of this hype would lead one to believe.  Yes, this holiday is magical if you’re ten or under, but at some point the glitter rubs off a bit.
I’m not convinced that everyone’s buying what we’re being sold.
The whole spending money thing seems to wedge its way in between husbands and wives.  Moms are trying to keep the magic alive (no matter how old their babies) and dads seem to be trying to reign the magic in so they can actually afford January.  Raise your hand if you can relate.
Yup.  That’s what I thought.
And a lot of this is about how we were raised!  Newly married couples have to compromise on what colored tree lights we will have (despite what their family did!) and how much decorating will matter.  
Plus, there’s the letting go of memories for some of us.  My dad hated Christmas.  He started feeling depressed the minute the Christmas carols started playing and gritted his teeth through all of it.  We did the thing, but he never shared why it made him so sad and in turn kinda sucked the joy for the rest of us.
People are hurting. And I can’t help but feel like all of this rubs their noses in it a bit.  Maybe I realized this after Justin’s accident last week.  I very quickly understood how different this Christmas could have been.  And will be for many, many people.
We celebrate the gift of our Savior. That is where all of this started whether we can see through all the fluff and stuff or not.  It’s supposed to be a worldwide birthday party.  Or at least a time for a big heart reflection on the birth of God as a baby in a food trough just because He needed a way to say “I love you” that would resound for all time.  
If it was me, I might be a little saddened by all the silliness it’s become.
So, what is it to you?  
Is it about tradition? Is it about family? Is it about a baby? Is it a struggle?
Obviously, I’m still wrestling with it.  But, I’ll be here passing out presents and singing a little carol or two on the big morning.  And, of course, I will still roll my eyes at the ridiculousness of a lot of it and buck the system as much as I can.
My heart already knows what matters, and trust me, I will be spending some time thanking my God for His creativity and sacrifice.  And I will revel in loving the ones that I am so very blessed to love.  And, I’ll pray that God opens my eyes to those who are hurting and be His hands however He lets me…
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One thought on “I’ll be home for Christmas…

  1. We split Christmases between our two families. We spend one year with my parents, and the next with Jacob’s. Each family has its own traditions, and the days feel very different, but these are my favorite things we do:Our family (Jacob and I and I two littles) make a birthday cake for Jesus every year. We sing happy birthday to Jesus, and any other worship songs that make us happy that year. We’ve taught our kids that we don’t know Jesus’s real birthday, but we want to celebrate His birth because He is the most important member of our family.At my parents’ house, we always open our stockings first. My mom always buys each of us a bag of our favorite candy bars (in miniature size), as well as little things from the dollar store to fill out our stockings. After we open our stockings, while we are all eating candy, my dad reads the story of Jesus’s birth from the book of Luke. I love listening to his voice reading! We’ve done this since I was 5 years old. After the story is done, and we’ve sung a few worship songs, then we pass out gifts. At Jacob’s parents house, I love Christmas Eve. We have communion as a family and his father teaches a little bit about Jesus’s birth. Then we eat soup and play a new game (board or cards, usually). The next morning, we open gifts.With both families, when we open gifts, we always take turns (it takes longer, but it means that everyone gets to enjoy every gift…no wild ripping of paper that ends in gift hangover in 15 minutes!). We start with the youngest in the family, and work our way through the kids’ gifts. When all of their gifts are done, while they are busy playing with their new toys, the adults take turns, starting with the oldest and working down to the youngest. We maintain a small budget as well, and I try to make as many gifts as possible. Both of our kids receive a gift that is a donation in their names to a charity, missionary or program. We love Christmas.

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