When my kids were little they attended a lot of birthday parties. Many of these were elaborate . . a dancing mouse, video games, pizza, or sometimes a moon bounce. The highlight was the goody bag, the present they would receive instead of give. I used to bemoan the bygone days of a birthday cake and pin the tail on the donkey. The problem I had with all the revelry surrounding their friends' birthdays was that usually their excitement was more about the party than celebrating their friend. I would always remind them to remember who the party was for. Sometimes I felt like the "birthday grinch".
Today is Christmas Eve. As I lay in bed last night, my mind spinning from all the gift buying and "birthday" party planning I've been doing, my thoughts went back to the kids. But this time I was both the mom and the kid overwhelmed with excitement at the party coming up.
The "mom" in me began to chastise the "kid" and suggest that all this merry making was getting out of control and Christmas should just be simpler, etc. . .
But the "kid" loves the lights and beauty and music and gifts. I fell asleep wondering who was right.
Early this morning I awoke to "White Christmas" playing in my head. Many mornings I wake to a song in my head, and they are always songs that speak straight to my heart and direct my mind to the Lord. I've often thought the Holy Spirit picks my playlist for this early morning song.
So why "White Christmas"? My first thought was to write it off to the constant Christmas music playing everywhere I go, but the song immediately warmed my heart to all that is wonderful about Christmas. Then the thought came, "If every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father" (James 1:17), wouldn't that include the warm fuzzy I get when I hear Bing sing of every child's, young and old, Christmas wish for snow?
Could it be that all of this is a part of the fantastic party I've been invited to? Doesn't the Bible give us many examples of elaborate preparations and festivities surrounding the King? If ever I had a party to throw wouldn't it be for Jesus? And isn't the party to top all parties awaiting us in Heaven at the Marriage Feast of the Lamb? I can't imagine that will be a sober celebration.
So my heart feels free today to revel with the Saints . . past and present. To deck my house and fill my kitchen and feast at our table and give with gusto and receive with gratitude. Because this party really is about both Who I am celebrating and what I've been given.
So Merry, Merry and Blessed Christmas! May all your giving and receiving reflect the greatest gift . . even better than a goody bag!