Skipping Christmas

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Let’s just cancel it ALL; no presents, no Santa, definitely no mischievous elf who never sits on the shelf. No hanging lights in the freezing cold, no trees to water, no annual ugly sweater party to plan, no stockings to fill, no festive wrap, and no hours of baking Christmas cookies. No Christmas play, no caroling,  no advent calendars, no Black Friday craziness, no secret Santa or white elephant exchanges, and no last-minute hunts through the picked-over shelves. No to all of it.

If I’m honest, skipping Christmas sounds a bit appealing. The feeling takes me by surprise because I love Christmas, themes, decorating, traditions, and making memories. This year, I have had a different feeling. I’ve contemplated ways I could get away with not buying any gifts, and it’s not because I’m Scrooge. I’m brainstorming ways I can “do” Christmas differently this year.

I have four boys and watching their eyes fill with wonder, and their faces full of joy is one of my favorite things in life. There are definitely moments during this season when their joy awakens parts of me that are too grown up. I get just as excited on Christmas Eve as they do and I don’t even have presents to open! I can’t wait to see their faces when they get something they’ve wanted for a long time. But…

I don’t love the money spent on things that don’t last, the stress, over-committed schedules, late nights, and tired mornings. I don’t love the focus on presents the kids play with for a week, only to donate them to Goodwill the next year. I don’t like shopping with sassy shoppers, ragged store clerks, and terrible traffic. And what about all of the extra food and treats? When it’s all month long, treats lose their excitement, but somehow, they still make it down the gullet.

As the year ends, we drain our bank accounts, our energy, and the joy out of a season that should recharge our joy! I don’t like that Christmas becomes more and more of what it’s really NOT and less and less of what it really IS.

If you’ve ever read the John Grisham book called Skipping Christmas or watched the movie Christmas with the Kranks, you might get a little tempted to go on the Christmas cruise and just skip town for the whole thing. Not a bad idea in a lot of ways. However, skipping what Christmas is really about is a habit we have all year and look where that’s brought us?

We “skip Christmas” when we participate in divisive arguments. We “skip Christmas” when we pass judgment and blame. A world without Christmas is a world without love. This holiday represents the greatest gift of love ever given, and yet we set it aside, put it on a shelf, or trade it in for something shinier, better, or more convenient.

Christmas skips over our differences and celebrates our commonality. It skips past our failures and frailties and celebrates our uniqueness. Love’s motives skip over our wrongs to bring healing and make things right. Christmas should cause us to skip; skip past the things that have distracted our attention and wearied our world, and should reignite the skip in our step, the joy in our heart, and overflowing gratitude.

This Christmas, I want to skip. I want to skip the hustle and bustle but revel in precious moments of awe and wonder. I want to lie down under the tree with my kids and imagine hopping from branch to branch like Chip and Dale in Mickey’s Christmas. I want to skip the overdoing, and allow myself to be undone…undone with the love that came for me, and covers me, and carries me. I want to sing songs while grocery shopping, smile at those who look lonely, and notice the unknown. I might skip some parties, cookies, shopping, and ugly sweaters, but I don’t want to skip an opportunity to spread hope, joy, and peace in a world that is often hopeless, depressed, and anxious.

Do you think I could do that in Disney World? That sounds like a great place to skip Christmas and spread some joy! Ok, ok, it won’t be Disney this year. We won’t be skipping town, so we’ll make the joy of Christmas spread in our hearts, our home, and our hometown.

DECEMBER CHANGE CHALLENGE:

What could you skip this Christmas? What parts of Christmas have you skipped for too long that you want to put back into focus?  

about the author…Jamie, the wife of her high school sweetheart and mom of 4 boys, has been in the fitness industry for 18 years. “Fuel the body, mobilize the soul” is her mission. Connect with Jamie on Facebook www.facebook.com/jamiebeeson1 or online at bit.ly/JamieBeeson

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