Skip to main content

The dangers of sentimentalizing Christmas

I don't want this to be a "bah, humbug" rant; I really don't. But sometimes....occasionally....perhaps without much thought.....

We over-sentimentalize Christmas.

I'm not here to take away your candy canes, shut off your 24-hour/7-day a week Christmas music. Don't put away your "Christmas Cookie" candle or take down the giant inflatable Santa from the front lawn. It's okay to enjoy the holidays.

I just want to take the stress off of some things (mainly moms who want to create "perfect" Christmas memories) and put the stress on something else entirely:

God-made-man.

When you're sitting in the pew on Christmas Eve (with the kids fidgeting next to you because they are now no longer terribly excited about the pretty dress they've been wanting to wear for a month and have now realized how itchy it is), watching the children in the parish act out the Nativity scene and place someone's borrowed baby doll in a nest of hay, remember: that's your Savior.

It's not just a cute (and why are they always BLOND??) baby on a Christmas card, born under harsh circumstances. It's not the time to get all gushy about "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" or wonder if you *finally* got the perfect gift for your mother-in-law.

It's time to fall on your knees and thank Almighty God for sending His Son to become one of us, and save us from our sins.

It's easy to think about a sweet little baby, and all your fun memories of Christmas past. It's good to be with family and friends and celebrate. It's wonderful to get out the cookie cutters and go to parties and shop for gifts for loved ones.

But don't make it ALL about that. Don't make Christmas about a holiday card with a blond baby and chubby angels looking down from on high. Don't make it about a time of year when we haul out ornaments and then put them all away, along with our faith and belief. Don't make it about being "of good cheer" for a short time only, until we have to get back to "reality".

Christ is our Reality. He's the most real Person we will ever know. Don't reduce him to a nativity set, a Christmas card, a children's play or a song.

Make Christmas real.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Trying to "end run" God

If you're a football fan, you know what an end run is. From Merriam-Webster:
a football play in which the ballcarrier attempts to run wide around the end of the line We try to "end run" God a lot. I do. I figure I know better. I've got this - no need to worry the Big Guy about such a trivial thing.

Of course, it never works.

Like the puppy above, when we try and evade the tough obstacle (even though we KNOW we will eventually have to do it), we end up - well, off in the bushes.

But oh! How I wished my way worked. I'd love to take a flying leap and land smoothly and gracefully. People would be in awe, as if watching Simone Biles nail a balance beam routine that no one else would even attempt. I would shyly look down and blush - just lightly - and acknowledge (But humbly! Oh so humbly!) my achievement.

But no: I am the one pulling myself out of the bushes, scratches all over my legs and twigs in my hair. I'd hear that gentle but loving voice of God saying, &quo…

Trauma Mama

Dear Husband and I both enjoy certain medical shows, such as "ER" and "Code Black." ("St. Elsewhere" was another fave!) These shows revolve around trauma: humans who'd been ambushed by life: a car accident, a fire, and abuse, as examples.

More often than not, these shows also highlight the trauma the doctors and nurses needed to deal with. Having a patient die is always offensive to a doctor: they are charged with saving lives and losing one is the ultimate failure. Nurses spend more time with patients, and can forge strong bonds with people that may be in their lives for just a few days.

But trauma doesn't always look like a bloody body being wheeled into an emergency room, or a house surrounded by fire trucks and police cars. Trauma comes in many forms.

According to one website, trauma can look like surgery. It can look like moving. Trauma can be losing a beloved spouse or more horrifying, a child. Trauma can also be chronic pain, loneliness, m…

Be Brave

A few years ago, it came to my attention that a young family member was struggling with anxiety and depression. I was able to share with her a bit of my own struggles, and let her know she wasn't alone.

A few weeks after our talk, I saw the movie, "Brave." It struck me that the young protagonist, Merida, modeled a great quality. She was indeed brave.

Being brave is not about recklessness. It is not about confidence. It's not about being foolish, or looking for glory in the eyes of others.

Bravery is about doing what is right, even when you are a quivering mess. It's about knowing that things may not turn out the way you expected, but forging ahead anyway. Being brave is standing by the hospital bed while a loved one is dying, and all you really want to do is turn back time. Bravery is standing up to a bully, when your legs are screaming for you to run. Brave is doing what needs to be done even when you're scared and tired and feeling helpless and hopeless.

I …