It’s exhausting when you live in contradiction to your core values. No wonder so many people need therapy this time of year. We say we want world peace, but duke it out at Walmart. We say we want to support our local economy, but buy the cheapest electronics we can find from China at Target. We say we want to teach our children to learn contentment and gratitude, but we fall all over ourselves to buy them a temporary state of bliss on Christmas morning. Our hearts are crying, “simplify!” and maybe this is the year we will listen.
What are your core values, and how do they relate to the Christmas season? I’ve been asking myself this question lately. I am, by nature, hopelessly romantic. It is so easy for me to fall into the trap of trying to create the perfect “holiday moment” as depicted by Currier and Ives, the windows at Macy’s, Norman Rockwell, or Pottery Barn. But the reality is, that’s not reality. Even if you manage to stage a photo on Christmas Eve with your well-dressed family and your well-appointed table, and your well-placed environmentally friendly LED lights strung on your organic, biodegradable garland, your heart will tell you that the picture does not really capture the truth of the moment, and that it’s really only a bragging piece for your Facebook wall. This go-round I want more than that. Don’t you? So I’m starting by asking myself what is important. What would Christmas look like if it were an authentic expression of what I value most about this season and what it represents?
For me, the essence of Christmas is captured best in the words of the Apostle John;
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The same Word that created the heavens (Psalm 33:6), spoke light into darkness, (Genesis 1:3), heals and delivers (Psalm 107:20), and executes the will of God (Psalm 147:15-18), was draped in humanness and condescended to us so that we may know God personally. That’s huge – and amazing!
As the Christmas Season hits its stride, there is one thing and one thing only that is driving my holiday planning and decision-making, and that is how do I appropriately respond to the truth of John 1:14 within the context of my own personal holiday celebration, and how do I express it to my family and friends? This is the conversation I will be having here over the next few weeks if you care to follow along.