Most of us living in America are familiar with the lyrics, “Twas a Night before Christmas.” Based on my limited research, the poem was written by a gentlemen named Clement Clarke Moore in 1822 and submitted by a friend to the New York Sentinel. The poem begins with…
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads,
And Mama in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap-“
As I reminisce about the lyrics, I cannot help but wonder…Who are these people? Are they for real…because maybe we should do a reality t.v. show about them. They appear to live such calm, peaceful lives. They set the standard of expectations incredibly high for the rest of us chumps. And this is why I see everyone around me hustling and bustling and cramming things in. In reality, the lyrics should read more along these lines…
“Twas the weeks before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Everyone was stirring, even the mouse;
The stockings were thrown by the chimney in haste,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would forgive all the waste;
The children were found jumping up and down on their bed,
A little bit high from all the candy canes they were fed,
And Mama exhausted, tired, and flat out kaput,
Went to bed worrying about the bills to compute.”
What if we did Christmas differently? What would it look like without all the commercialism? It is a stretch of the imagination because Christmas in America has become overcrowded with parties to attend, decorations to hang, presents to buy and pageants to see. What if our primary focus was on the birth of Jesus instead?
It broke my heart to hear my son tell me about his friends who think Christmas is just about the decorations, presents and parties. The name of Jesus was never mentioned. If we scale Christmas back…what would it be? If we could dig to the bottom..what would we see? The poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” forever changed our view of St. Nick. Prior to this time, no one associated Santa with a reindeer and sleigh. Nor did anyone visualize him with a white beard and red suit. Since 1823, the list of expectations for Christmas has only continued to escalate. It seems to me that everyone is trying to add a special something to Christmas in order to somehow make it better. In doing so, have we diluted out, covered up, and masked the true meaning of Christmas?
Psychology Today reports Christmas as one of most depressing times of the year. As I hurry and scurry about, it hit me. Why does everything have to get done? What if I let a few things go? Maybe skip sending out a Christmas card greeting? Or pass up on hand-making gifts? Or in lieu of baking for hours, buy something at Whole Foods instead? Because if I keep the rat race pace, I’m just bound to miss out on Christmas.
For all of my perfectionist friends..let’s savor in God’s grace for this season. Let’s sit back and enjoy a moment of cocoa while we talk to Him. Let’s not forget what Christmas is all about.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13