A fundamentalist turned freedom chaser with an obnoxiously stubborn faith.

Christmas Love

In my home we eat the leftover Turkey while we give in to Christmas. I live by a strict code: no Holy or Silent Nights until after Thanksgiving. Honoring Autumn’s last hurrah is – to me – an ethical imperative.

But come Black Friday I am ready. The pine-scented candles are lit, Bing and Co. serenade my living room on an endless loop, and I’m a sucker for Holiday-themed treats to share.

And really this time of year is all about that to me. I am swept up in nostalgia, embracing every novelty of Christmas-past-come-now. It is not particularly about Jesus. Not particularly about his birth or his message.
Not particularly because Christmas is, like everything else, about Love. The memories, the family, the gift-giving and cookie-making all adds up to holy. And I will take any chance there is to hear the Advent Story. I’ll curl up and soak in every breathe of the Beauty and the Bittersweet of a child born so long ago who changed everything.

But without the pressure. We decided years ago that we either needed to give up Christmas the way it’s done in order to focus our attention on the Story or we needed to celebrate Christmas in a more honest way. Because our spirits were aching with the tug and tension of trying to fit liturgy into candy canes and reconciling candlelit services with the next morning’s gift exchange. The Advent is bigger than all of it and we had to stop shoving it into meticulously wrapped packages.

So now we don’t pretend the festivities mean anything more (or less) than our indulgence in the togetherness, the fun, the tradition itself. And you know? Jesus is here – because Jesus is everywhere. So he shows up under the mistletoe in sweet kisses, in the warm memories baked into the pumpkin pie, in the sparkle and twinkle of the Christmas tree. And for us, it’s easier to see him now.

And I love that everyone joins in. I love that you don’t have to belong to a club to do Christmas well. That it’s open to believers and non-believers of all varieties. I love that with or without the Advent Story this is a time of year for all of us and that God is here with all of us. At the Live Nativity and the White Elephant party, in the communion wine and the extra-spiked eggnog. I love that people get nicer, do good things, bring light to dark places whether they claim Jesus’ name or not. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

But everybody is different and there are many ways to do many things. So for maybe for you Christmas is about that incredible Story. Maybe for you it is your Savior’s Birthday. That’s lovely.

However we do it though, we must all agree: if you are stressed out over the shopping, the cooking, the projects you’re doing it wrong.

Because Love is here. And the scandal of Love is that it takes over now. It doesn’t wait for death – for heaven or hell or whatever. Love is impatient in this: it will not rest until everything is in the magic. So whatever this time of year means to you, it should never take away from that. Christmas should be abandoned before it threatens the Peace that Love promises.

So here on Christmas Eve, when some of us are feeling ready and some of us are feeling behind, let’s take a moment to center our hearts on Love : the restoration, the acceptance, the warm parental embrace we can enjoy today, tomorrow, and every.single.day.

Merry Christmas {Eve}!

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