Growing up, Christmas used to be magical. With every light my parents hung up in front of our house and with every ornament placed on our tree, my spirits were lifted and my heart raced even faster. There was something about Christmas that was indescribably mysterious and exciting.
The weeks leading up to Christmas were the best. Our house was constantly filled with desserts and gifts from family friends, Christmas cards were always dispersed on the kitchen counters, and the scent of our Christmas tree made the entire house smell like a Winter Wonderland.
The night before Christmas was the most exciting night of the year. Sleep was impossible; my little sister and I would stay up for hours talking about what we thought we were going to get. It was for sure the longest night of the year; it seemed as though we had been tucked away in our room for at least 15 hours. We’d read every Christmas book we could find in our room and stay up chatting until the early hours of the morning.
And before we knew it, it was 8:00 a.m. on Christmas morning. We’d tear open our stockings, wake up everyone in our house, and wait impatiently for everyone to be ready to open presents. And once we were all seated around the tree, pajamas on and presents in hand, everything felt right in the world.
And while all of those things still ring true today, the magic seems to have faded. Christmas has started to feel a little less… special. The weeks leading up to Christmas are filled with stress, trying to manage my money well enough to afford getting everyone the perfect gift. I’m more concerned about what I’m going to wear to our Christmas Eve church service than I am about spending time with my family. Christmas has become more and more about appearances and money and less about family and giving.
Putting up my Christmas Tree isn’t as special anymore. Going to see the Nutcracker with my family isn’t one of my top priorities. I fall asleep the night before Christmas just as easily as I do every other night.
Why? Why has Christmas lost its excitement? Where did the mystery and the joy and the suspense go?
I think that as we get older, we start to realize that Christmas isn’t about the presents or the candy canes or the holiday cards. We start to understand that Christmas isn’t just a fun holiday where everyone is surprised by a big, old man in a red suit.
Christmas is about the God of the Universe giving us His only son. Christmas is about the fact that the King of Kings came to this earth in the form of a helpless baby born in a barn. And you know what? THAT’S where the excitement should come from. THAT is where the mystery and the suspense should come from.
Why would the most powerful being in the universe come in the form of an infant? That’s the mystery. However, we have the answer: it’s because He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He loves us SO much that He gave us His only son, so that we, the dirty and sinful humans, could have eternal life.
What a reality check. What a slap in the face. I’m so caught up in money and presents and clothes and appearances that I am overlooking the excitement of this holiday.
Yeah, Christmas looks different at the age of 19 than it did at the age of 9. I don’t get as excited over the thought of Santa, and I don’t stay up all night waiting for Christmas morning. However, Christmas brings a different excitement into my life. Christmas reminds me not only of how broken I am but also of how gracious and loving my Heavenly Father is.
So as December begins and you start to prepare for Christmas, spend some time thinking of what it is about Christmas that excites you. Remind yourself that Santa isn’t the “reason for the season,” and that Christmas is the day where we received the best present of them all: a Savior who loves us so much that He died for us.
And that, my friends, is something to get excited about.