Every year the complaints surface. We hate what Christmas has become. We are exhausted and overspent. We ate too much. Our kids won’t play with half of what they get before they break it or grow out of it. We don’t need any more socks and ties and underwear. (Unless you’re my husband who needs some socks and underwear, but no ties.) I still have the bottle of hand lotion, unopened, from two Christmases ago. Etc. etc. etc. Whine. Whine. Whine.
What we need, needed, continue to need is a little more Advent, not so much more Christmas. What we need is Jesus come. We need more light. We need more hope. We need more grace. We can never really have enough of those.
But it’s not what we really want. Let’s be honest. Even if you honestly don’t want more stuff from Stuffmart, or money isn’t really a huge deal for you, the truth, down deep, is you really want something beautiful. Family time. Perfect, peaceful, warmhearted family time. Or maybe the cozy, fuzzy snuggles of someone you love dearly. Maybe it’s the perfect dinner and a gorgeously decorated table and hearth. Maybe what you want is for your spouse to get something actually meaningful to your soul, or maybe just great sex, or any sex really. Maybe what you want is your kids to say thank you unprompted. Or to take out the garbage unreminded. There are many things on that ole grown-up Christmas list. Peace on earth and stuff is nice too.
Question for me is do I even know what Advent looks like? I pray for Advent. I pray for Jesus Come quickly. But what does it mean? What will it look like in my life? What will it do for my kids, my spouse? How does the reality of God with us make any difference at all? And will I even notice it?
Truth is I think I would be disappointed in the first Christmas. A little bit like the disappointments of Christmases past. We have these hopes and expectations and are they ever really filled? Can we ever really be satisfied? If I was there, maybe a shepherd or, I’d like to think, a magi/wise guy/ brilliant astronomer, would I have been ok with all that happened? Would seeing the baby and the humble little place where freedom was born be enough? Would I walk away praising God and a few days later be back to complaining about these dumb taxes or that I need new sandals? Wouldn’t I need to see Jesus again? Wouldn’t I want to see Jesus again?
And again and again and again…