One Christmas

Nov 21st 2009

I would guess that at least some of us look back on a Christmas or two as being a good Christmas; one of those seasons where it all came together, nailed the gift-giving or one christmasgift-receiving, perfect Christmas meal, family all home AND fight-free.   Or perhaps it wasn’t just one Christmas, but moments from a few that we remember.

But I would guess there are many more of us, who come to the end of the holiday season, look back and wonder,

“Where did it go? I didn’t get near enough time with friends or family.  I wanted to have more of those moments where I really pondered the heart of Christmas.  I wanted this Christmas to be less about me and more about Jesus.  Well, I guess there is always next year.  We’ll get it right next year…

But what if there wasn’t a next year?  What if we only had one Christmas to get it right?  I’m not suggesting that anyone is going to do die, or that everyone is going to die.  I just think that sometimes the thought that we have forever to get it right, keeps us from seizing the moments God gives us now.

So it’s just a thinking game, an imagination moment, what would the next 30+ days look like if you knew this was your Christmas to get it right?  What would the next 30+ days look like if you wanted to create some memories that would last a lifetime?

Last year our family made Christmas gifts for each other, and then celebrated Christmas in Myanmar with a few hundred kids.  That was one year we got it right.  But you don’t have to go to Myanmar to get it right, right?  As I think about the Christmas seasons that have meant the most to me, I think of at least three constant components, a focus on Jesus, time spent with family and/or friends, and meaningful generosity.

If you have been reading my blog lately, there’s been a bit of a theme.  From posts like “The Number of Our Days” to “Choosing to Cheat” I’ve had a bit of a ponder life/death thing going on.  Partially it’s because I’ve been thinking about our Christmas teaching series coming up… One Christmas.   Partially it’s because some folks at Calvary have been going through some life-altering, tough times.  Partially it’s because I spent a few days this week with my dad, who just had quadruple by-pass heart surgery, and my mom who not long ago suffered a stroke.

So it isn’t even Thanksgiving yet, Black Friday is still days away, and none of you — hopefully — even have a Christmas tree up.  So what better time to take a few moments today and write up a list — not too long of a list — just a starting point and a description of the destination.  What do you want to be saying about this one Christmas — on January 1, 2010?

Last thing, I ran into this youtube video through my friend Paul Grabill’s blog Beside the Point.    It’s Tony Campolo, and he’s talking about the way we live life, when we know there is a number to our days.  It’s worth 8 minutes.