Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Happy Birthday Jesus!!
So, I'm talking to one of the little first graders at Sunday school and ask her if she's excited about Christmas break. She was a cute, little, talkative thing that went immediately into rattling on about their vacation plans, what presents she was getting and the amusement parks they were visiting. She got stuck on the present subject just long enough for me to squeeze in a question..."Who's birthday is it?". She looked at me a little bewildered and asked if it was mine. I said, "No", and asked a little differently..."Why is everyone getting presents?". She told me because it was Christmas...I was waiting for the "duh" at the end of her sentence. "So, what are the presents for?", I asked. She looked at me with this blank stare and just sat there.
Well...What are the presents for?? I know this was a six year old that I was having this conversation with, but she sure understood all the activities she would be participating in, and the fact that some guy called Santa was bringing her gifts (and lots of them). I get sad at this time of year to see so many kids just aren't getting it. Shoot...I feel like I just don't get it so much of the time. Christmas Eve and morning we read the story, go to church, act generous with lots of gifts, feel a little more generous and cook something special to share. It all feels so mechanical sometimes.
Every year, about a week before Thanksgiving, the feeling starts hitting me...I want to get it. I want to spend the entire month 100% focused on nothing but Jesus' Birthday. Then, it all starts...the parties, the baking, the gifts, the running...even this year while I try so hard to simplify all the festivities, I find myself still distracted at times. I have to admit, this year has been a little different though. In the heat of all the insanity, I found myself doing the insanity a little differently. The pressure to get it perfect and make everyone feel like they are having this picturesque Christmas is gone. It seems to be replaced with this joy of serving. I've been enjoying the baking and even the cleaning up after baking because for some crazy reason, I'm not worried about perfection...just about making someone smile with a treat. None of it feels like it is about pleasing or impressing people...just the shear joy of seeing them smile. I know I only have prayer and God to thank for this peace I feel this year.
I like to imagine the smiles of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the wise men. I bet the animals were even smiling :) I can't even begin to think about how the joy must have been spilling over at the moment of this not-so-perfectly-planned, not-so-perfectly-posh birth. Jesus didn't need three baby showers, a decorated nursery, a swing, a bouncer, a jogging and walking stroller, a crib, expensive blankets, a closet full of clothes, pacifiers, bottle cleaners, wipe warmers....goodness, I've never tried to put all that stuff on paper before...it's so much! He just needed to be born. It's His birthday! He's the one all the hubbub should be for...not for us. We've already gotten the ultimate present...Him!
So, the rest of the week as we finish up all the "to-do's"...or just plain old throw the list in the trash (my preferred plan :)) ...let's remember just who we are doing all of these things for. As I re-prioritize and shrink the list of things everyone wants me to do and focus on what God is prompting me to do, I find more joy in the doing, because the doing and giving now becomes for Him...for His Birthday. With each opportunity to serve, I am reminded of His birth.
Merry Christmas!! And, Happy Bday Jesus!!