A {Christmas} Thought to Start Your Week: Holding the Christmas Spirit Too Tightly by Lizzy G.

My grandma called up my dad in May and said “Do you know what a ‘Macbook Pro’ is? Do I want it?” She’d won a brand-spiffin-new, sleek 13 inch from a radio station to which she donates. My dad said “YES.” And in a roundabout way, I ended up with this Macbook Pro for Christmas. Good gift. Great gift. Hallelujah, it’s a laptop I would never have dreamed of having.  I was speechless for several minutes in shock. All the opened presents lay between pieces of furniture and my family members. It was 11:00 am. Of course, the biggest present, and the most time-consuming one, has to be opened last.I had a thought about this laptop that I took hold of before it got away. My thought was “Oh good, I have a present that will make Christmas last beyond today. I have something I can keep on enjoying after all this is over.” The shady little thought lying beneath that one went something like: “Oooh, a gift I can delight in. A way not to be disappointed by this Christmas. A way to fill the void.”

After this sneaky thought was captured out in the open, I was pretty confused. Why would I need to have a way to fill the void? I don’t have a void!

But I’ve noticed that the more tightly I hold on to my Christmas, and the higher the expectations I place on this season, the more I begin to celebrate Christmas incorrectly. A void begins to open.

Obviously, God is involved here. Let me try to explain. I got cold water in the face at Christmas this year because I had to play a role that was less childish and more grown up. I was expected to contribute more in terms of stocking stuffers, stayed up way after midnight Christmas Eve, pretty much saw my parents playing Santa (placing the presents under the Christmas tree), and even wrote a note from Santa to my dad on the same stationary which he always uses to write Santa’s notes to me.  I was upset. I didn’t want to grow up. I didn’t want to let go of Christmas traditions. I will never say aloud that Santa Claus is not real. As is a theme quote in The Polar Express, I didn’t want the magic to end.

Friends, there is a difference between Santa magic and Jesus TRUTH. Regrettably, I looked in the wrong places for significance this Christmas. I wanted to celebrate Santa, tree decorating, and cheesy Christmas movies on Lifetime and Hallmark before celebrating that Christ came. I made the classic mistake. I relied on a new laptop to gain more Christmas happiness instead of on Christ who came once to give us a joy that lasts forever.
If we celebrate Christmas for the right reasons, the joy we find at Christmas will continue in much greater ways, all year long.

Christ came. We celebrate his coming as a beginning. A few years after he arrived on earth, he died for our sins. He came to this earth with death as a mid-life goal. He came to restore what has been broken. He came to destroy sin. He came to give us new life purpose. He came to stand as the intercessor, and to give us hope that our failures will be forgiven. He came to draw us into the relationship. He came to fulfill the new covenant. He came for God’s glory.

If you’re more excited about eggnog than the above truths, something is very wrong. When I get excited about Jesus, the need for a long-term Christmas gift becomes obsolete. Christmas becomes a starting point; it’s the runway for the plane that carries my joy through the rest of winter, spring, summer, and fall. Jesus didn’t come to earth to give you seasonal salvation. It lasts all year long.

I find that hope in Christ inspires in me a much better version of “Christmas spirit” than the one the movie characters that we try so desperately to discover and hold on to. It is nice to know, too, that the cheery feeling will be with me in July and forever.

It’s now a half a week after Christmas, and I love my Macbook Pro, but my enjoyment of it doesn’t hide from me the fact that over this vacation, my relationship with God needs the most attention. And as I settle in to watch the last of the sappy Christmas films we have recorded on the TV, I breathe a sigh of relief that my mortal void is filled with the Holy Spirit and not by worthless plot-lines on the Hallmark channel and fancy electronic gifts.


Lizzy is an ex-East Asia mk who is now finishing high school in Athens, Georgia, USA. She enjoys band, drama, chorus, and art; old musicals, pasta, and those good old Africa mission trips. She has written sporadically and erratically for NOTW since its debut in 2009.


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