Tuesday, December 20, 2011

why i celebrate Christmas.

it's no real secret that i love Christmas. everything about it, really.

i love the lights and the way they make everything sparkle. i love knowing the reaction that racing lights evoke from my mother, which kind of makes me love them just a little bit more.
i love Christmas trees. i love the way they smell, how they transform a room, and the memories that are tied up in all the decorations that go on them.
i love the music. i love the silly songs as much as i love the classic carols. i listen to it non-stop from Thanksgiving until they stop playing it on the radio, and sometimes even a little bit longer. its really only acceptable to listen to it this one time of year, so i make sure i make the most of it.
i love the treats: the cookies, the chocolate, the cinnamon rolls, the cookies, the hot chocolate, the cookies, the popcorn, the cookies...
i love the traditions. an orange and a toothbrush in your stocking. a penguin on the christmas tree. a certain movie and opening one present on Christmas Eve. candlelight church services. a santa tray to leave out cookies and milk. and i love that sometimes the specifics of these traditions can change over time, but they are always always what makes each year memorable.
i love the presents: i love getting presents from people who love me, and i love searching for the perfect presents to give to the people i love. and i love the anticipation that comes along with it - wondering both how well you'll make out this year, and looking forward to seeing whether or not you actually found the perfect presents for everyone else.
i love the magic that surrounds the whole month of December. it is a mix of Santa and goodwill and cheer and joy and love and excitement and vacation and snow and i love that even as i get older the magic is still there.

those are some of the reasons that i love Christmas, and some of the ways i celebrate, but they are not the reason why i celebrate.

Christmas is so much bigger than trees and presents and tradition and sparkle. it is essentially a birthday party for the greatest human being who ever set foot on earth. it is the celebration of a baby whose primary purpose in this world was to point to the one and only God who is the main character in all of history. he came to be a perfect sacrifice for a world full of people that in and of themselves are full of sin and incapable of the perfection that God requires. he came to die in our place, to cover all our sins with his perfection so that we might one day be restored in heaven with God. and he came to then rise from the dead - to conquer death, sin, and satan to prove once and for all that God is more powerful than satan, and that the outcome of the battle is already written. and all of that power was wrapped up as a tiny baby.

this year, i'm really being remided that Jesus' birth - revealing the glory of God in a form that we can comprehend, living to die as a sacrifice for the sin that we ourselves could never overcome, and fulfilling the work of the Father to defeat death and crush satan - is the "reason for the season," and it all kind of changes how i look at it. Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection gives me a hope and a freedom that nothing else can.

and so i celebrate. i celebrate with friends and family, with joy and laughter, with lights and decorations, with presents and treats, in the happiest way i know how. because i love that baby and all he stands for. he is why i celebrate Christmas.


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