Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

The night before Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2010 in kids, life
Tags: , , ,


Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
Every creature is stirring and raising a fuss.
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care,
But sleep hasn’t come yet and that’s just not fair.
From Payton and Devins’ been non stop crying and chatter,
It’s an endless list of wailing matters.
Into my bed I would sure like to crash,
But the sleepless children are unreasonably rash.

I’m sure I could carry this on for a while more but my memory of the rest of the poem is getting foggy now that its 1:40am on December 25th and the boys haven’t let me get any sleep yet between coughing and nightmares. Christmas 2010 is going to be pretty interesting. I hope my parents get here soon.

P.S. – I write this lying alone in Payton’s bed, as the newest plan of attack has him sleeping with Jen in our bed. Brutal.

**This should have posted on Christmas morning, but apparently never made it through the tubes that make up the interwebs to this site.  Blame Al Gore – he invented the thing.

You would think that living your life day in and day out in the church that feeling like you have missed Christmas would be impossible.  This however, is exactly where I find myself right now.  For the majority of the church going folk in the world, the advent season is a great celebration leading to the big crecendo of it all on Christmas day.  Everything builds on everything else and it would be impossible for Christmas to just sneak up on you like it is just any other day of the year.  My problem however is that I live on a different calendar than the rest of the members of our church.

I work ahead.  As I write this I have spent my afternoon preparing for my sermon on January 23 – that is five Sundays from now.  I prepared my advent series well over a month ago already, and in many ways already feel like Christmas has come and gone.  When I am in the midst of preparing a message it is all I think about and I live in the midst of it.  I would like to think that I can get myself fully back into that place in my mind when I finally present the message, but the truth is I have spend all week preparing to preach on something else and it is only a small part of my week going over what I have previously prepared to preach on that coming Sunday.  For me in many ways I lived Christmas sometime back in November and it is already a memory to me now.  Just one more example how being a pastor makes life distinguishably weird from the rest of those folks out there.

If you see me in the next week or two wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day and I will likely be right with you.

spirit-christmas.jpgSo, I’ve been thinking on this one for a while now.  Hopefully, this doesn’t turn into a rant or lengthy treatise, but I can’t make any promises in that regard.  I’ve been accused of being a Grinch.  A pastor being accused of being a Grinch!  I don’t like Christmas music (with all do respect to Mike).  I’m not much for decorating for Christmas.  I don’t like having to go to stores and being confronted by robotic santas singing “Let is Snow” in a creepy digitized fashion.  Like I said, people have accused me of being a Grinch.  This has never really sat well with me becuase I know that I love God and I love to celebrate the birth of Jesus due to the fact that his birth is absolutely central to my faith and worldview.  I have spent a lot of time over the past few months looking at why I feel the way I do, lunch with Brian helped me think through a few things too, and I think I’ve finally come to at least some kind of understanding now.

First of all, I am not willing to accept the title “Grinch” without it leading to fisticuffs ever again.  I do not hate Christmas.  I have no interest in ruining other people’s happiness.  I do not own a dog, and will not ever own a dog.  And most of all I am not green and furry.  Furry maybe, but certainly not green.  I don’t hate Christmas, but what passes as Christmas makes me uneasy – queasy almost.  I refuse to be labled as a Christmas hater just because  listening to “Christmas” music irritates me, I’m not big on decorating, and I’m uneasy about the felt obligation to give “Christmas” cards to people I barely know because “that’s the way things work”.  None of those things are Christmas to me, they are just “Christmas”.

Some people say that they are sick of the consumerization of Christmas.  Some Christians get up in arms when they are greeted with “happy holidays” instead of “merry christmas”.  Just last week I listened to Bill O’Reilly lament the despicable S-P’s for (these two cliches make me groan gutterally) “trying to take Christ out of Christmas” because “Jesus is the reason for the season”.  I used to fit into this camp too, until recently.  I’ve come the understanding now though that it’s not the rest of the world that’s the problem, it’s me.  They aren’t trying to take Christ out of Christmas – he was never in their “Christmas” to start with.  To them, Jesus isn’t the reason for the season.  Their “Christmas” has nothing to do with Christ, it really is just “happy holidays”.  The real issue is me trying to force my faith and my Christmas into their “happy holidays”.  Why should we be allowed or feel justified to try to shove Christ and Christmas down their throats or into their winter festivals?  I can’t imagine that I’d be too happy either if was forced to perform pagan rituals on Halloween.  I would likely try to come up with some way to get rid of the pagan parts of Halloween and still try to enjoy it somehow . . . oh wait . . . that’s exactly what Christians have done.

I say let the world have it’s happy holidays and winter festivals, I just want Christmas back.  I want Christmas to mean what it’s supposed to mean.  Christmas isn’t about santa, sugar plum fairies, elves, trees, and N’Sync Christmas albums.  It is about God incarnate as a man coming to earth.  God with us.  I think you can even make a case for Christmas involving gift giving (so long as the emphasis is on remembering God’s gift to us in Christ), eating and baking (becuase all human celebrations involve eating together in some way), and family as we draw together to celebrate together.  I’m really convinced though that Christians need to keep Christ in Christmas, though not in “Christmas” as western society thinks of it.  I think I would actually really like it if they took Christ out of that “Christmas” all together to get rid of the confusion that comes with the two completely separate celebrations using the same name.  The CFL eventually got it right (think Roughriders vs Rough Riders, turned to Renegades eventually), and I think it’s time we got this weightier matter dealt with too.  Let the world have it’s happy holidays and don’t begrudge them it, I just want Christmas back.

I could go on a lot more about wisemen and historical inaccuarcies that even Christians have perpetrated on themselves, but no one really wants to read that and I think I’ve said enough as it is.  So, if I don’t see you personally in the next couple weeks have either a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or both even.  Let’s just not get the two mixed up.

P.S. – Now that I’m a dad, I think I do somewhat sickly look forward to my kid being the one to tell all the other kindergarten kids that there is no Santa, and that the real Santa actually died a few hundred years ago.  Does that make me a bad person? 😉

P.P.S. – Is this good enough to keep me in your Google Reader Mike?