Saturday, December 24, 2011

May Your Christmas be Merry and White and Bright [With Sugar Plums and Jingle Bells and Herald Angels] Oh, and Joy to the World!

{by Hailey Sadler}
It's kind of a pity about Christmas.

I mean, there are some things I definitely LOVE about Christmas: family traditions, picking out a perfect tree, the excuse to eat lot’s of cookies and drink things like salted caramel lattes and egg nog and Chic-Fil-A peppermint milkshakes [the best!]. And presents. I love presents.

But the pity about Christmas is inherent to the very nature of its celebration. It comes every year. We sing about it. Preach about it. Send cards because of it. [Each sporting pretty much the same twelve words just in different combinations.] We shop and watch movies and have parties because of it. For like a solid month. The pity about Christmas is that it has become so common. It has become so typical, so everyday, that I can sit in a church pew and listen to someone read the words, recorded in ancient times and passed down for generations, of the mind-blowing, world-shattering, reality-shifting, Christmas story and instead of being amazed I look at the preacher standing up to speak and think, “Ok, how is he going to make this interesting?” How could truth such as God Himself came to earth in the form of a little human baby to save the world from sin have become cliché? But it has.

It’s sad. That honestly the most monumental event in history [second only to the resurrection, basically] sometimes seems, if we admit it, kind of …boring now. Not surprising, anymore. Sometimes I wish I could hear the story for the first time again, or see it from someone’s eyes that were there when it happened, the unheard of, for the first time. 

I like to think of the shepherds, because unlike Mary and Joseph [who had been preparing their minds since the angels visits] or the wise men [who had been traveling along time, which always takes some of the excitement out of things… think long car ride...] the shepherds heard about it for the very first time in a burst of glory the very night it happened. [Or at least I like to imagine it that way, I know Biblical scholars can argue otherwise.]

But, outside of a Christmas pageant [and maybe not even then... I always had to be an angel] I doubt I’m going to get the shepherd experience. So we can do what we can, try read the story over with fresh eyes, glimpse the wonder, ask God to create a shepherd's experience in our hearts, and wrap our minds around the scope of the event that Christians now call Christmas. And then be grateful. Because whether or not the Christmas story seems cliche, it still changes our world, our lives, and our entire reality. Which is pretty cool, when you stop to think about it.

Now put that on a Christmas card.


  1. awesome article, very articulate and entertaining! I'm glad to know i'm not the only person wondering that on a Christmas Eve service, and glad to be reminded of the amazing-ness of the Christmas story. Thanks for re-inspiring me!

  2. Exactly what I've been thinking these past few days!

  3. My pastor had excellent analysis of Christmas during the Eve service from Mary's perspective. The events of Christ's birth changed her forever. She treasured them in her heart. We ought to celebrate Christmas as Mary did; not as an annual occasion to indulge in the western pastimes of materialism and narcissism, but as a reminder - a refreshing of our memory - of the miracle called 'incarnation'. The wonder, awe, unspeakable gratefulness shouldn't begin at midnight on 24 December and end at 12:01 on 26 December. Christmas should follow us through the year; our lives should be literally changed every year as we progress in sanctification. Christmas isn't an event, it's a reminder. It reminds us of who we are, undeserving sinners, and who God is, holy, eternal, giving of His only son to save a people who hated Him. That story never becomes cliche.

  4. @Anne-girl
    Thank you anonymous and Anne-girl for your comments; it’s cool to know you feel the same way. Oh and Merry Christmas! :)

  5. @Anonymous
    Anonymous the Second, thank you for your thoughts. I really like what you said about Mary, and I absolutely agree with you. Ideally, we should treasure the truth of Christmas in our hearts every moment throughout the year. Because what we call "Christmas" truly changed our entire reality. Practically though, it honestly can just be difficult to grasp the wonder of the story after hearing it so many times and celebrating Christmas as excessively as we do. It’s hard to wrap our minds around the magnitude of what happened to an extent that would do the miracle of incarnation justice. [Would you agree with that?] Ultimately though while the way we present the story, and talk about it and sing about it, can become cliché, the story itself [and this is what I was seeking to say in my post] as seen in its fullness with wide-open eyes, could never become old.