Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Cure for the Ho-Hum Christmas

As the Christmas season approaches each year I am usually giddy with expectation. I'm not even irked when Christmas displays share department store space beside of swimsuits. When the first cold snap hits, I start thinking about snickerdoodles and eggnog lattes. It's all about the anticipation.

This year however, is not one of those years. This year my Christmas spirit has been somewhat timid. My fire just won't seem to ignite. I'm like a lighter that has just run out of fluid - the click produces a promising spark but then...nothing. I feel a bit like the house below on the right...

It's not the first Christmas that I've been a slow starter and I'm sure it won't be the last, but the responsibility to lead the family charge into the season, to be the source of the Christmas spirit, as it were, weighs heavy.

That's the large, glaring problem. Isn't it?

I am not, nor will I ever be the Keeper of the Family Christmas, much less the source of its spirit. That position was filled long ago by the manger-Baby and no other need attempt such status. I already knew that of course, but I feel the pressure nonetheless.

I may rightly claim my place as chief cookie baker, boss of the elves, hanger of the greens, Christmas craft supervisor even, but never the source of the Christmas spirit...never. I've been approaching this season very much like an old nativity set the kids have played with for years, it's a cute little set, but the Baby Jesus was lost amid all of the Christmas decoration years ago.

Just before December began my Man told me about a wonderful Christmas Advent ebook by John Piper called Good News of Great Joy which is free, and downloadable to my eReader. I have recommended it to everyone who will listen because many of Piper's Christmas musings strike my search for the Savior amidst the shiny plastic of this season at its heart.

Directions for downloading the ebook are here.

Another book that helps to reset my Advent perspective goes by two titles. Written by wordsmith Max Lucado, it was originally released as A Cosmic Christmas and has since been re-released as An Angel's Story.

My family and I have read aloud this fictional account of the Christmas story through the eyes of the angels who lend an amazing perspective of what could have been happening in the unseen world as the heavens prepared for the Savior's birth. It's also available, though not free, in ebook form on Kindle (here) or on Nook (here). I suspect you will find this short story well worth the price.

I'm a Christmas music fanatic and feel that it is NEVER too early to start listening to Christmas tunes. My Man however has a strict (ish) "only after Thanksgiving" rule that I try to abide by when he's around. My all-time favorite Christmas album will always be Amy Grant's Home for Christmas
and I always find instrumental albums like this one so peaceful and calming. This year in our home and car this brand new album by Francesca Battestelli is getting lots of play.

These items have helped to kindle my Christmas spirit because they have, each in their own way, re-directed my attention to the reason we the One we celebrate! 

AND...a dear new nativity has found its way into our home and our hearts which is NOT missing the Baby Jesus...I pray your Christmas season finds you in exactly the same condition!

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