Now that Thanksgiving is over the Christmas season has officially begun! I’m proud to say that this year I managed to hold off listening to any and all Christmas music until now, and I successfully avoided the Black Friday madness once again. Although I admit that the latter didn’t take much convincing. On Thanksgiving Day Ike and I were driving to my grandmother’s when we heard a commercial belittling other store sales that waited “as long as 7am to open.” This particular store, on the other hand, proudly opened at 4am! Seriously?!? This has gotten out of control!
The Christmas season has also launched me and Ike into a debate about whether or not to tell our future kids that there’s a Santa Claus. When I was little and discovered that my parents had been lying to me my ENTIRE LIFE about Santa Claus, I felt very much betrayed, so I’m having some serious misgivings about doing the same to my kids. Not to mention the fact that Christmas is about Jesus, not Santa. Ike, on the other hand, doesn’t feel so strongly about Santa, and wonders how it will work out practically speaking when other kids are talking about Santa and our kids are the party poopers who burst their bubble. I guess we’ve got time to figure this stuff out, but let me know if you have any insights.
There is a lot of craziness that surrounds Christmas and it’s largely a distraction, but I wanted to share with you one thought as we enter into this season. Since I lost my grandfather 2 weeks ago, I’ve found it really difficult to listen to Christmas music. He loved Christmas music more than anyone I know, so it’s been hard for me to listen to it without crying. My heart aches inside every time, which makes me even more sad because I love Christmas music so much myself.
I imagine Christmas is like that for a lot of people. While it’s a time to rejoice, we’re also reminded of loved ones who are no longer celebrating with us. It can be very bittersweet.
The one thing that has comforted me during this time is to focus on why it is we observe Christmas; just what it is we’re anticipating. Hope. While I miss my grandfather so much and our traditions will now be tinged with sadness as he is no longer with us, I’m simultaneously reminded that the reason we celebrate Christmas at all is because of the hope we have in God’s redeeming work through Christ. This little baby would one day die and rise again so that we no longer have to despair or mourn. And this little baby also reminds us that those who have gone before us are singing songs to their Savior which make Handel’s Messiah pale in comparison.
So if you’re like me and you’re missing someone right now during this joyful season, I want you to know that you’re not alone, but I also encourage you to take heart. The reason we celebrate is because we have hope. God has come near, and death is not the end of the story. That is why we sing!