We explained to the boys that the final days of December would be very busy. We began to lay out the details just for Christmas Eve: Cooking and baking most of the day. Then many, many photos, then off to church, and many, many more photos! Dinner at the Sloans, return home to watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas, open one present on Christmas Eve (it’s always pajamas), then hang one final ornament on the tree and read our theme Christmas verse. Hey we do it every year. And we love it. It brings us meaning and joy.
Somehow, in listing all we would be doing on December 24, we glossed over one of the most endearing parts of the Christmas season: The Grinchy nature of our Christmas Dinner. I, for example, always bring the Who Hash and Who Pudding. And no matter which meat you choose for your entree–just call it Rare Who Roast Beast, if you please.
After dinner, all the cousins of all ages gather around and listen to Jeremy’s annual reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The kids know it almost completely by heart. They loudly chime in as Jeremy growls, “The Grinch got a wonderful, awful idea!”
And as I watch and enjoy the children’s delighted faces and laughter, I can’t help but relate to that villain whose heart was two sizes too small. I know the miracle of Christmas is that all of us can experience the same radical heart transformation–that through Jesus we have experienced it. Without Jesus we are as hopeless in our sins as Mr. Grinch. But because of Jesus we can be different. And that is the beautiful reality that supersedes the ribbons, tags, packages, boxes and bags.
And this year, our new friends got to enjoy that reality too. We explained, “We celebrate because we have so much joy that God sent His son into the world.” They understand and smile and nod. We add, “And we give gifts because God gave us the best gift of all.” Big smiles. Yes! They know. Jesus. Isusu.
And so our silly traditions and celebrations continue–because they remind us every year that “Maybe Christmas…doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps…means a little bit more.”
Jesus Christ…who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:13-14