Because my church family is extremely tolerant of my madness, they let me write a small piece for the monthly newsletter. Normally, I would detail the Sharpe/Byng family Christmas for you, but nothing truly excited happened this year. Ok, one thing happened, but it wasn’t so much exciting as it was hysterical/ funny/ sad.
Me: My mother got me frying pans for Christmas.
Rachel: At least you didn’t get a bible with no name on it.
Rachel: They were going to have my name embossed on it, but then they decided not to because if I get married, then my name will change.
Me: Ho, ho, ouch.
Ariel and I both received frying pans.
Me: Are they trying to tell us something?
Ariel: I think so. Well, I suppose that’s the way to get a man. That and figure skating.
You see why I love my cousins?
Anyway, here’s the piece I wrote for the newsletter.
As the Christmas season approaches and the weather turns from a balmy 75 degrees to a chilly 71 degrees, I’m breaking out my sweaters and scarves and reflecting on how this holiday affects my life. Sure, I deck the halls with boughs of holly, I fa-la-la-la-la with the best of them, but what does Christmas really mean to me? As chestnuts are roasting on the fiery anger of pastors who’ve been told to have a “Happy Holiday!” one too many times, I try to figure out how a baby in a manger changes my life.
Tis the most wonderful time of the year when I’m taking a Christmas photo on the beach and sending it to my relatives in NY with the words “How’s the white Christmas going for ya?” etched along the bottom. All of these things are fun and magical and add to the aura of Christmas, but really, how does Christmas affect my life? What does the “Christ” in “Christmas” mean to me? So, church family, here are ten new things I’m doing this year to bring the Savior back into the holidays.
1) Putting an icthus or “Jesus fish” on all my Christmas cookies.
I was thinking about putting Jesus’ face on them, but taking a bite out of the Savior seemed like sacrilege. Besides, I doubt the whole “body as bread” thing translates to a sugar cookie.
2) “Borrowing” those goats my neighbor keeps and making them part of my living Nativity.
Think about it, I would have the best lawn display EVER if I kept a living Nativity on my front lawn for the entire month of December. And actually, that’s helping out the economy: I would be giving at least 6-7 actors a paying gig. This idea is a win on two fronts. To make it even better I wouldn’t have to pay for lawn service for the month. Goats are living John Deere mowers. There were goats at the Nativity, right?
* FYI, in cases like these you can also call “borrowing” “commandeering for Christ”.
3) Hire a gospel choir to follow me around and sing the Hallelujah chorus every hour on the hour.
They will also be on deck to sing “Dies Irae” and “O Fortuna” whenever someone says, “Happy Holidays!”
4) Change the lyrics to the “12 Days of Christmas”
On the 1st day of Christmas, my Jesus gave to me: a long walk from Ur to Galilee!
On the 2nd day of Christmas, my Jesus gave to me: two parables and a long walk from Ur to Galilee!
On the 3rd day of Christmas, my Jesus gave to me: three French he-
Ok, so I’ll have to keep working on that.
5) Start saying “Happy Christmas” to confuse people.
The ole bait an’ switch.
6) Wrapping all my gifts in scripture
Sure, they would have to be small gifts in order to fit, but I could totally make it work. And I could use it as a way to witness to my unsaved friends and family. Saved friends and family would get passages from the Psalms and unsaved friends and family would get scripture from Revelation. That neighbor who decided to start keeping chickens and a rooster will get a fruit cake wrapped in Lamentations…
7) Ask the sales clerk at J.C. Penney’s if he thinks Jesus would like new sandals or robes for his birthday.
Then pull the “commandeering for Christ” card.
8) Rather than mistletoe, put palm branches in doorways.
Mistletoe encourages funny business. Palm branches encourage Christian side hugs. No more of this “I’m greeting you with a holy kiss” nonsense. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle those palm branches that litter the streets.
9) Start calling it “Jesusmas” instead of “Christmas”
I know what you’re thinking on this one, but hear me out. I figure that people have been able to ignore the “Christ” aspect of Christmas because of the pronunciation. When we say “Christmas” does it sound like “CHRIST-mas”? No. It sounds like “chrismis.” Start calling it “Jesusmas” and people will have a hard time ignoring you.
10) Stop writing silly lists and read the book of Isaiah
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Whether or not we have presents, decorations, or time with family and friends; whether or not we’re told “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”; whether or not we listen to the Hallelujah chorus and light candles at midnight, a baby was still born in a manger.
I cannot put “the Christ back in Christmas” because my Christ never left.
My Christ was born and raised again. My Christ said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome the world.” My God said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So taking all of this into account, when did Christ ever leave Christmas?