A couple of weeks ago, I was married to an amazing man, who popped us into the car and flew us across the country for our honeymoon in Arizona (which was positively dreamy). While we drove down beautiful state highways in the Verde Valley, we discussed at length about expectations of this upcoming Christmas season.
Tim and I were raised in similar ways—simple Christmases with both parents and multiple siblings—and we each had our own family traditions we wanted to continue in our new life together. We talked about what type of meal we wanted to share on Christmas Eve (him, a seafood feast; me, Santa Fe soup), how many/what type of gifts to share (experiences rather than objects for both of us), and other quirky traditions, like chocolate oranges and Christmas pickles.
I smiled as we drove because we were at this beautiful starting point where we could choose together what would be the most important things for our family moving forward at one of my favorite liturgical seasons of the year. Like most families we know, we agreed that the most important thing about Christmas is not about the gifts, but the time we get to spend with our family. But even more than that, it was about putting Christ into the forefront of our heart and minds.
I positively love the Christmas season, and it’s not because of the decorations or the snow—I’m from Alabama…what snow?
I love the Christmas season because it’s another opportunity for us to brush off the dust of the year, to welcome Christ into our lives in a more intentional way than we have perhaps in a while. It’s a time where we are reminded to get our priorities straight again, even if we’ve been doing well all year. It’s a time to clean out the cobwebs and welcome Jesus back into the imperfect manger of our heart, knowing that He will make it perfect.
This Christmas, as we are given the gifts of our Lord, family, traditions, memories, laughs, and hopefully enough Christmas cookies to move up a pant size, let us not forget that we ourselves are a gift to others. By our words and actions, we are invited to be light, hope, joy, mercy, peace, and love to everyone we encounter this season. We are asked to give what we can, to share the Lord with others. Peter tells us to “employ [your special gift] in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Pt 4:10).
In Scripture, we find evidence of people giving to God from what they had, whatever that was. The innkeeper gave what he had to Christ, didn’t he? Mary, who anointed Jesus’ feet with her hair, gave what she had, didn’t she? The widow who offered two coins have what she had to Christ, didn’t she? The shepherds and the wise men and Mary and Joseph gave what they had to Christ, didn’t they?
Let us also, then, give what we have to Christ in most profound ways: in conversations of beauty and good taste, in celebrations of life and love, in service to and with others, and in stewardship of sharing God’s grace as He intends it to be shared.