An interesting situation happened in my household just a couple weeks ago. We store our Christmas decorations in the closet under the stairs—and when I say Christmas decorations, I mean Christmas decorations. This is the holiday that we go all out, with tinsel and garlands and singing snowmen both inside and outside the house. And, of course, a really nice-looking fake tree because of our pets.
Due to some rather unfortunate circumstances caused by nature, our boxes of precious decorations, ornaments and faux tree were completely ruined. I was at school when it happened, and when I got the text from my dad, I was devastated. Christmas was the one event a year when we came together as a family to make everything merry. Hundreds of memories were stored inside those boxes, and in a moment, they were gone.
But along with the disappointment came the uncomfortable realization that maybe we haven’t been celebrating Christmas the way we should have been. Christmas, to me, has always been smiles and laughter while getting the house ready.
Of course, deep down I know the real reason for the season. We all do. But every year we are with family and celebrating family, which is part of what celebrating Jesus’ “birthday” is all about, right?
The more I dwell on this, the more I think that maybe a lot of us Christians have been missing the mark. We have fallen into a trap where we have secularized Christmas just like everyone else, under the guise that being with and enjoying family is another way to
worship God. Maybe we throw in a candlelit service on Christmas Eve and a reading of the Advent story, but the real reason for the season now seems to be who can make mom, dad, brother or sister smile the biggest when they open a gift.
Christians are helping take “Christ” out of “Christmas.” My family and I are part of the problem, along with countless others, and the worst part is, we don’t even realize it.
So this Christmas, maybe take a step back from the family celebrations, joy and cheer and reflect on who the holiday is really about. It’s fine to be with family, but let’s not be the ones who show up at a party only to ignore the host.