one not-as-fun thing about living in the desert is that it’s hard to get in the Christmas spirit when it’s still in the upper 60s and low 70s in the afternoons. i mean, c’mon, Christmas with t-shirts? unless you’re on a family vacation to Hawaii, Christmas should be about chilly weather (maybe even snow?). think about it. santa lives in the north pole and wears a ginormous furry, red suit. he’d be a giant blob of sweat if he wore that here in arizona! or frosty the snowman? he’d melt before you could roll his three main parts! jack frost? he rarely makes an appearance here. fresh-baked cookies? it’s too warm to turn on the oven! snowflakes and icicles? for real? yeah.
all those Christmas songs are just WAAAAAY off base for life here in the desert. but then i remembered what it was like to be in Jerusalem, Israel in December. and that climate is a lot like Gilbert, Arizona. and then it hit me. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which isn’t too far outside of Jerusalem. so when Jesus was born, there was no snow. there were no down coats. santa hadn’t been invented yet. frosty the snowman and icicles and snowflakes and jack frost weren’t around.
so that means the climate of our Christmas in arizona might be a lot it was that first Christmas so long ago. [please note: i understand all the debates about WHEN Christ was actually born and that it was NOT December 25th, but let's go with this for the sake of this blog post, okay? Thanks!] and when i was reminded that Christmas isn’t about feeling the cold weather, my mood changed. and i was ready to celebrate. to enjoy time with my family. to decorate. to start baking. to buy gifts.
so last weekend we finally put up our tree (many, MANY thanks to Paul & Heather for giving us this beautiful hand-me-down tree last year!) and decorated it. and then in the magic of a darker room and the white lights of the decorated Christmas tree, davey and samantha wrote letters to santa…
and in that moment, the MAGIC of Christmas returned for me. childlike wonder, admiration, anticipation, excitement, joy, hope…
so despite our culture and our society and the on-going pressure to BUY MORE and OWN MORE and to be DISTRACTED MORE, i am THANKFUL for this season. for the emphasis on FAMILY and FRIENDS and GATHERING and SITTING STILL (“silent night”) and BREATHING. and in our home, we joyfully celebrate the birth of Jesus (even though he wasn’t really born on December 25th!) and the true meaning that Jesus was a fulfilled promise to God’s people. a Savior.
and knowing that we KNOW that, and that our priorities for the season are in order, makes little things like these (see photos below) heart-warming.
may God grant you plenty of time this season to celebrate the birth of His Son, the Savior, with family and friends and neighbors and strangers. and may you also be able to enjoy the “holiday season” created by our society, b/c giving and receiving presents is also a gift and blessing from God – it’s just not as important as knowing the Savior!