Despite the occasional annoyance of these common and redundant questions, I grew up not only embracing, but enjoying the novelty that my birthday fell on a special day. And now that I am older, and a mom myself with children of my own, my embracing of my Christmas Eve birthday as a novelty has turned into amazement.
My amazement is that my mom gave birth on a Christmas Eve evening. My amazement is that the night before Christmas with all of the hustle and bustle of family and getting last minute gifts wrapped, completely unplanned, she went into labor. She didn’t want to leave my older brother on Christmas Eve, so she waited as long as she could, and thus arrived too late and too progressed at Fairfax Hospital to get an epidural; she had to have me without one.
Are you at the point in your life yet where you wonder if Christmas, although maybe redundant in the fact that it’s celebrated every single year, has real implications to your life beyond just being a holiday?
Now at 33 years old, I have given birth four times myself and understand the ins and outs and logistics of labor. I understand the cocktail of emotions surrounding it, the physical demands attached to it, the mental weight of it, and the practical aspects that go with it. To a mother, labor with all of its emotion, excitement, and physical requirements is like a holiday in and of itself. I can’t imagine doing all of that on the eve of the most popular holiday in the world that everyone else is celebrating too. So, my perspective of my Christmas Eve birthday has shifted. Growing up, I thought it was neat and cool that my birth fell on a sorta-holiday, but now, I think it’s amazing that on a sorta-holiday, my mom gave birth. Notice the difference?
As we get older, many things, like my Christmas Eve birthday, that once seemed like cool little novelties can shift and turn into amazement as we mature and we take time to reflect and take in all that had to transpire in order to make that thing a novelty in the first place.
Christmas is like that. Every year we celebrate Christmas. It is a novelty. There’s nothing like Christmas! The greatest gift was given. Heaven came down. God Himself became flesh. God sent Jesus to fulfill the scriptures to lead us out of darkness and to give us life. Jesus, The Messiah was born.
As Christians, we know and celebrate these truths year after year, yet I wonder if we have allowed ourselves to move past the novelty of Christmas and be personally amazed by it?
Are you at the point in your life yet where you wonder if Christmas, although maybe redundant in the fact that it’s celebrated every single year, has real implications to your life beyond just being a holiday? Maybe 2020 has forced you to ponder this question.
Especially life in 2020. Life can be hard, ugly, painful, unfair, confusing, depressing, heartbreaking, and tragic. But Christmas is better because Christmas acknowledges the realities of life but gives us Jesus to walk with us through it all. And this is what our souls truly desire—God with us.
You know, by 33 years old, I would have thought that I’d have this “life” thing figured out. I’m married, have kids, have personally lived and walked with people through some crazy and unique life experiences, but I don’t. I do not have life figured out. And I feel it’s safe to assume that despite your age, your occupation, your socioeconomic status, your background and life experiences, you don’t either. And the amazing thing about Christmas is that Christmas lets me know that that’s ok. And if you are like me and have come to the terms with the fact that you don’t have life figured out either, I want to let you know that Christmas lets you know that that’s ok too. If we had life all figured out, we wouldn’t need Christmas! We would not need a Savior at all.
You see there are these polar opposite extremes that we tend to cling to when we don’t have life figured out to sort of help us cope and feel like we have some amount of control and understanding of life. Either we become like blind optimists and gloss over everything negative going on in our world and we tell ourselves that this is what hope is (“Everything is great, it’s all going to be fine!”) or we are like extreme pessimists who are negative and full of despair with everything going on in our world and we sadly have no hope (“Nothing could ever possibly change; this is the way it is and I’m going to feel this way forever.”). But if we take time to reflect, we will gain the understanding that Christmas rejects a one-or-the-other extreme. Christmas is above that. Christmas is beyond that. Why? Because Christmas gave us Emmanuel. God with us. This may be messier than you would superficially desire, but I can assure you it’s what your soul actually desires. It’s messier than what you may superficially desire because our flesh really wants everything to just be great and happy, but the truth is life is awful sometimes. Especially life in 2020. Life can be hard, ugly, painful, unfair, confusing, depressing, heartbreaking, and tragic. But Christmas is better because Christmas acknowledges the realities of life but gives us Jesus to walk with us through it all. And this is what our souls truly desire—God with us.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. He was born in a barn and placed in a dirty manger. He did not bypass any hardship while on this earth. There was no majesty or beauty about Him that would attract us to Him, nothing about His appearance that would cause us to desire Him. He was tried and tempted by the devil. He experienced loss. He experienced betrayal. He experienced mockers. He experienced injustice. He experienced physical pain. He wept. This is the type of Messiah that came on Christmas. Not one that glosses over or rejects the hardships of life…but One that knows, understands, and walks with us through them. So, we don’t have to pretend that nothing is wrong and place our security in a false hope, but we can embrace all of the hardships of life knowing we are walking through them with the real Hope; the Hope of the world. So, this Christmas, I encourage you to look beyond the novelty of Christmas and be amazed at what the birth of Jesus actually means for you.