On my way home from Bible study and Trader Joe's yesterday (both a spiritual experience, let me assure you), I heard the semi-new song "Where's the Line for Jesus?" on our local Christian radio station.
I made it through approximately 1.5 verses before I rolled my eyes so far back in my head, I saw my spinal cord.
Seriously people. What is it with the Christmas schmaltz? Maybe I'm turning into a curmudgeon, but I have no tolerance for it anymore. (Hey you, kids wearing pajama pants at the bus stop: Put on some real clothes! It's 5 degrees outside! And get off my lawn!)
I understand Christmas is largely an American, secularized holiday at this point. It's 85% Santa, shopping and sweets and 5% snow and lights and 10% the coming of Jesus, the Messiah. I truly believe you could remove the Gospel narrative from most Christmas celebrations and the majority wouldn't blink -- or even know something had changed. This realization helped me a lot last year when I realized some of my bad attitude about the holidays stemmed from too much blending of the two Christmases in my soul.
But I don't understand the need to make Christmas -- either of them -- a cesspool of sentimentality.
This year, I'm doing my best to enjoy cultural Christmas without losing focus on the original reason for the holiday. We have enough snow to guarantee a white Christmas. The kids and I are baking and decorating holiday cookies. We have a gorgeous tree taking up half the living room. And I'm almost done buying presents to tuck under it.
But I'm also reminding myself every day that advent, the coming, implies waiting. And not just waiting for presents. Waiting for hope deferred. Waiting for the wardrobe doors to reveal Narnia. Waiting for the Promise to come.
It's the farthest thing from contrived sentimentality you can imagine. It's real. It's true.
God's Christmas is so much deeper. It's an audacious rescue, a passionate love story. It recognizes the darkness, the sinking hopelessness that would swallow us all whole if not for the birth of this tiny babe.
Personally, I don't want to go to the mall and stand in line to see my God. Santa can have that gig.
I would rather leave the masses at the cathedrals to materialism and go instead to the humble stable and there