For years, I have hung a wreath on each of the front windows of our home during December. Two days ago, half of the lights on one of the wreaths went out, and it looked a little like a giant white chocolate-dipped Oreo hanging on the window.
So I went to Target yesterday to buy a new string, and as I made my way to the back of the store, I overheard the following comments from random people:
Young boy, “We’ve been shopping FOREVER!”
Husband: “Haven’t we spent enough on her already?”
Mother: “Knock it off or you’re going straight to your room when we get home!”
Meanwhile, I could hear the faint strains of It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year playing over the intercom. I thought, “There’s something wrong with this picture.”
It reminded me of a column I recently read by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, Colorado. He says, “The world has an ingenious ability to attach itself to what Christians believe; tame it; subvert it — and then turn it against the very people who continue to believe. Too many Americans don’t really celebrate Christmas. They may think they do, but they don’t. They celebrate Exmas.”
These random thoughts were all floating around in my head in the middle of the night, as I thought of all the dichotomies of the world’s Christmas:
Christ was born in the most simple and humble of circumstances, but the world commemorates His birth in the most complicated way imaginable. He gave us all of the greatest gifts of Heaven and earth, but the world buys up gifts of no worth. He gives to all freely, and forbids none to come unto Him, but the world celebrates a Christmas that is only for those with money to spend.
Like the half-lit wreath on our window, we can do everything humanly possible to “put on” a perfect Christmas, but without the enduring light of Christ, our Christmas is incomplete, inconsequential, and even downright silly.
So my Simplify Christmas invitation today is this: Take a few minutes to sit down TODAY and write a list of the blessings you have in your life because of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Post your list in an obvious place and add to it throughout the week. I hope that focusing on the gifts He gives us will help us center our Christmas celebration a little more on Him.
And here’s a great video about the true Spirit of Christmas. Take 4 minutes to watch it — you’ll be glad you did.