I am a bit of a Grinch.
Not in a green hair, pot belly sort of way. More in a grumbling, irritable way. For years, I have tried to determine the reason I become Grinch-like in December. Even before Katie's death, Christmas was hard for me. Maybe it's because I do not love shopping or decorating or presents or . . . dare say it . . . tradition. I don't think it's because my shoes are too tight. I do think, perhaps, it has something to do with my heart.
Recently, I made the statement, "I don't even need to put up a Christmas tree." And it got me thinking . . . Do I really not need to decorate a tree in order to celebrate Christmas? What would it be like to not exchange any presents? Even though I do not spend a lot of time on the preparations, could I actually celebrate Christmas without all the things? As followers of Christ, we acknowledge Christmas as a day to remember the birth of Jesus, a baby born for the purpose of our salvation. But are the festivities of the season a part of that or a distraction to it?
I wonder . . . what if someone (not saying who) took my tree and presents and lights and decorations? If they loaded up my stockings and tinsel and cookies and roast beast onto a sled and dumped it off Mt. Crumpit, would Christmas still come?
What if they took the parties and the music? What if they took the nativity set on the mantle? What if they took the voice with which I worship? And the people beside me? Could I still celebrate the birth of Jesus . . . in a poorly lit quiet room . . . alone? And would I? Would Christmas still come without all the things?
As much as I want to give the knee-jerk response, "Of course I would still celebrate Jesus!" I think the questions begs for more contemplation. I truly do not know how much my celebration of Jesus depends on all the other parts of Christmas. Perhaps more than I want to admit.
But I think one year I would like to find out. One year when my kids are grown enough to plan their own Christmas, I want to skip all the performances and parties. I want to avoid the online stores and the brick-and-mortar ones. I want to pack up the presents, the ribbons, the wrappings, the tags, the tinsel, the trimmings, the trappings. And dump it.
I want to try to celebrate Christmas with just me and Jesus.
Could I do it? Would I do it? And what would happen in my heart if I did?
Jesus, You have promised that I will find you when I seek you with all my heart. And you will give me a new heart and put a new spirit in me. You will take my stubborn heart of stone and replace it with a tender heart of flesh. Do it, Jesus. Grow my heart for you three sizes. And I will praise you, Lord God, with all my heart; I will glorify your name forever. (Jeremiah 29:13, Ezekiel 36:26, Psalm 86:12)
Blessings to you and your family as you celebrate Jesus.