Our Christmas tree is up and there are lights on the outside of our house. That's about the extent of the Christmas decorating that has happened here at our house. I'm thinking I might get some more decorations out this afternoon, but I might not get there. And that's OK.
Usually by Dec. 8, Christmas has exploded in our house. We have decorations everywhere, but this year has been crazy. There's not been a lot of time to put up decorations.
But while the decorations still sit in their boxes, I've baked cookies with my mom and my daughters. My husband, daughters and I went to see the great-great grandson of Charles Dickens perform a one-man show of A Christmas Carol. I took my older daughter to see one of her best friends perform in a version of The Nutcracker last night. We've shopped for a foster family. My girls have packed shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. I threw a Christmas party for my older daughter's soccer team. This Friday evening we're having a family night of dinner out, looking at Christmas lights and maybe a Christmas movie.
Because this year, I came to the conclusion that our Christmas season would be so much better if we spent it doing things we love with people we love than doing the things we think we have to do to make it Christmas. Because isn't that what Christmas really is about?
It's about a God who loved us so much that He sent His Son to be with us, to be one of us. He sent Jesus to spend time with us here on earth so that we could know Him and so, through His sacrifice, He could create a bridge between us and God.
As my kids get older, Christmas becomes less about the toys and the decorations and more about creating memories. It becomes about focusing on the baby in the manger and what that means for how we live our lives. It becomes about drawing together as a family so that we can grow closer to God together.
So, my advent calendar may be eight days behind. My house may be sparsely decorated. But that doesn't mean there's any less Christmas spirit. It doesn't mean there's any less joy in the season. It just means that the priorities have shifted. And that's not a bad thing.