By Jessica Connor
It's hard to keep things holy when every store you enter breaks out the tinsel and the plastic Santas before Halloween is even over; when you get gift-shopping sale ads that rival the size of small magazines day after day in your mailbox. Popular Advent ministries like the Angel Tree or Operation Christmas Child get popped right into the mix like items on a to-do list.
Got the obligatory reindeer picture with the kids? Check. Got the Toys for Toys unwrapped gift? Check. Got the nativity set up on the mantle, the wreath on the door, the Christmas cards mailed out, the 500 million cookies baked and wrapped and ready to go?
It s dizzying.
Some years, I d find myself sucked into the holiday free-for-all, so busy with the flurry of activity that the holy moments would get lost in the crowd.
Other years I d do a 180, feeling well rested and spiritual, but overall pretty miserly at the end.
So now I m embracing a happy medium. I ve come to realize that celebrating the birth of Christ is truly just that: a celebration. It s a month-long festival of joy and anticipation not necessarily meant to be quiet ¦ it can be boisterous and busy and all those things. But celebration is at its core.
Now what I try to do is bring Christ into every single activity my kids and I engage in. If I m buying food for a Christmas feast, I buy a little extra for a hunger ministry (could be some canned goods, or even a rotisserie chicken placed directly in the hands of a homeless person I see). If I m shopping for gifts for my two young children, I shop for people in need right along with them. If I m blasting some jingle bell rock, I throw in a little Silent Night.
The point is not that we can t celebrate. It s just that we need to make sure Christ is at the center of our joy. He truly is the reason for the season. Christmas isn t a retail holiday. It s a time of giving, whether that s presents or food or love or time.
And when we look through at the holiday through the lens of Christ, we see that all the more clearly.
Merry Christmas, friends. May your celebration be merry, Christ-filled and bright.