Christmas Won’t Be the Same

Christmas Won’t Be the Same

December 19, 2008

I received an e-mail this week saying Christmas would not be the same this year. As I scrolled down, I found a reindeer with a red nose mounted over a fireplace. As I went further, Sarah Palin came into view with a deer rifle and a big grin.

Indeed, Christmas will be different this year with some of the economic difficulties. Less presents, less spending. But, of course, that is not what Christmas is really about.

The birth of a child who would become the Savior of the world is celebrated at this time. It is an amazing event surrounded by all kinds of amazing things. Luke especially notes a lot of them in chapters one and two ? angelic visits, old giving birth, virgins giving birth, prophecies acclaiming the Savior in a normal visit to the temple for circumcision.

Unfortunately, we still miss the message. Last night Barbie and I went to see "Four Christmases." It is a funny movie with several apparent messages. One of them is we need to be honest in our relationships. Perhaps this is the most direct point of the movie. Several people say in the movie, "You can't spell 'families' without lies." And it is "lies" that get the various characters in trouble. Not necessarily big lies, but untruths that come back to roost.

Another message that pervades the movie revolves around family. The father of the main female character says, "Family is what this season is all about." Dysfunctional family is evident everywhere, but they are still family. More lurks beneath the surface than our quick judgments might allow when looking at people. One brother and wife know everything about each other even within what appears as a poor family model.

I think holidays are an important time to reconnect as family because our culture makes it easier than at other times. However, the celebration rises to our God for the grace-filled gift of his son. That is the focus that permits other things to happen.

Enjoy your Christmas! Enjoy each other and your family too, if possible. And enjoy them despite the rough edges and dysfunction. Remember who made it possible in the first place and worship him along the way!

By the way, "Marley and Me" comes out on Christmas Day. Our tradition without extended family nearby has been to take in a movie together. It too focuses on family and looks like fun. Along the way we will try to remember the importance of the birth of Christ in whom we have eternal life and life abundant. Merry Christmas!