Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

I am Going to Ruin Christmas Again This Year, and That is Kind of the Point.

I love Christmas time. I thirst all year for the peace and community of the season. And every year I vow to keep Christmas simple, to keep the focus on Christ's birth and loving each other well. Then I proceed to buy too much stuff, over commit, obsess over wrapping paper, and snap wearily at my family for not cooperating with my unattainable visions of a perfect and peace-filled Christmas. I know I'm not the only one.

Every year we long for a season of peace and instead find ourselves in a whirlwind of to-do lists, debt, and unmet expectations. And when it is all over we sit back and wonder how it happened again, how did we nearly miss Christ in the midst of the very celebration of Him?

But in the ruining of it, in the missing the mark, don't we uncover the real beauty of Christ's Mass?

The notion that we would pick a day to celebrate the humble birth of our saviour King, establish a season of advent in which we anticipate Him, and then nearly miss Him completely in the hub-bub of gifts and flurry of activity? Friends, that is exactly why we need him in the first place. 

Isn't that the gospel?  That our own efforts fall short again and again. That we cannot make ourselves presentable to God?  And that in His goodness, in His love, He meets us there?  That He has made a way, not because of what we've done, but in despite of it?

So I will strive this Christmas season to celebrate in simple meaningful ways, to navigate the season with joy and gratitude and perspective. And I will fail and have to turn my heart back towards God.

But I trust that God will be present despite myself.  I will ruin Christmas, and God will redeem it. 

Friends, may the distractions of this season be a reminder of how desperately we need our Emmanuel, God With Us.  May we rejoice over the God who comes to us, who meets us in our failed strivings, and sets us free.

And maybe, just maybe, we will obsess less over the wrapping paper.

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  1. Kelly, thank you so much for this message this morning! I already find myself overwhelmed with all the silly little details of the holiday season. As a grateful person trudging the recovery road, this time of year is especially difficult. I so appreciate your warm wisdom, brutal honesty, and strong faith! You and yours are in my prayers! I appreciate you! I enjoy your writing! Thanks and keep your chin up sister! You aren't alone!!! (Ps...I kinda ruin Christmas every dang year too...my husband calls me "Clark Griswold" & has to talk me down off the holiday ledge every year due to my unreasonably high expectations!) :)

  2. You have again penned a fabulous piece ! I have down-sized our Christmas as well, a fraction of the presents, baking, decorating. It gets lost in the real meaning of Christmas. It's so easy to do that though with all the stores starting their Christmas merchandising in August. After reading your article this morning, I shall follow your lead, and not worry about the wrapping paper. Have a blessed day, Kelly.