The Seduction of Christmas
By Nicki Koziarz
It’s just a few days before Christmas and I’m reminded of my love/hate relationship with this holiday. Over the past few weeks I’ve done the shopping thing [love], the baking thing [hate], the decorating thing [love], the party thing [hate] and even the church play thing [love].
I’ve been stressed over money and disillusioned by the idea of a perfect family get-together. But more than anything, I feel like my entire identity has been controlled by this [almost sickening] need to achieve the ultimate Christmas. If I keep this up, by Christmas Eve, I will be perfectly exhausted from chasing after something that seems so deceptively good.
My confession: I’ve been seduced by a manufactured idea of Christmas.
But today, I am working through this. I’m realizing that:
I can abandon this desire for the ultimate Christmas.
I can flee from the greatest temptations this season throws at me.
I can still have an amazing Christmas by setting my desires in the right direction.
The first thing I’m doing is reminding myself that Christmas is not about traditions and doing. While as a culture we have convinced ourselves that in order for Christmas to look like Christmas - we have to do certain things. But there was nothing traditional about the birth of Christ. It was a miracle. While it’s great to do for others, the greatest thing I can do is point people to what was done for each of us through the birth of that child.
The second thing I’m doing is realizing the best moments of Christmas are when I choose to stop the busyness and focus on being grateful. Gratitude is one of the best ways to take our eyes off ourselves and give the credit back to Jesus. When gratefulness is flowing from my heart, it will be almost impossible to allow these seasonal stressors to compete with that.
While Christmas seasons past have fed me lies of what it means to have an incredible Christmas, I want this year to be different.
With that determination in mind, this Christmas will be so much more than exhaustion, mediocrity and empty promises from TV commercials. In this present moment, the idols that rival my heart for God’s place are in check. The manufactured idea of Christmas may tempt me to want many things, but the awareness of Jesus in my heart will help me keep Christmas in its rightful place