December has always been my favorite month since I was little, some factual reasons:
2. My birthday (27th!) *wink
3. New Year’s Eve
(and because now I am in Melbourne, perhaps I must add 4. Boxing Day because another extra holiday for my husband meaning we can enjoy more family time and perhaps getting good deal over the shopping bonanza? haha..)
Plus, the Christmas decorations, the Christmas songs, the melancholic feeling they all bring as it reaches toward end of year and to begin a new one in short… They all just bring warmth to my heart.
However, despite all the exuberance this season brings, I remember how my unmet expectations had always daunted me, making me always cried for many years during Christmas day, especially when I was still living in Jakarta.
I had always wished all my family members could celebrate the Christmas’s Eve and Christmas Day together in complete – me, my two brothers, my mom and dad – over a perfect lunch, dinner or a day out together as a real family.
Yet for so many years I always ended up in disappointment, because somehow for some reasons (I saw it more like excuses), we just couldn’t have that ‘perfect day out’ together because Dad was going (or missing) somewhere else, ditto with Mom, then each of us would have our own plan rather than a family plan… Then, thank God, we would all gather once again during my birthday, but for many years I had seen it more as a ‘ritual’ rather than using the moment to celebrate it with true intimacy between one member and another.
Now that I am in Melbourne and don’t have plan to go back to Jakarta during this season, that expectation dissipates by itself, because we are separated in distance anyway (the fact that all members were complete, living in same house and neighborhood and yet couldn’t make a time to have a day out together – that, was what most embittered me).
This Christmas is my first opportunity to teach Aimee what Christmas is about (where she has been able to grasp ideas better). I borrow books from library especially those depicted nativity scenes well to a two-years old kid and keep telling her about “Mommy Mary”, “Daddy Joseph”, “Baby Jesus”, plus the shepherds, the three wise men, and those animals in the stable as witness of the birth of the “King of Kings”. Interestingly, she isn’t interested much with Santa Claus (the Christmas trees, reindeers and elfs pretty much catch her attention though). I’m not trying to be an “enemy of Santa Claus” haha… but when I stop and reflect through today, I just wish that I can start afresh in terms of how I view Christmas, how I wish my mind and heart hadn’t been ‘corrupted’ by how the world views Christmas as.
Aimee doesn’t care about the ongoing Christmas sales in shops and malls. There isn’t Christmas tree or Christmas decorations in our house at present, yet she doesn’t demand them anyway. Nor she demands for any Christmas present.
It feels like the world celebrating it merrily yet in this house everything’s going on as ‘normal’, just like regular previous months. However, why the exterior has to define what supposed to be celebrated internally in heart?
Just like what I’ve been telling Aimee, that Christmas is about “Jesus’ Birthday”.
That Christmas is about a divine Person, not about ‘things’.
That Christmas is about giving thanks for a wonderful Person being humbly born to this earth, for faithfully carrying His duty from God the Father as He grew in stature and wisdom even it cost His own life at the cross, to be the Savior of the sinners – to be my Savior.
How I wish I could have that pure heart and eyes once again, and to not weigh Christmas down by my own wants and expectations for the benefit of myself… and how I pray that Aimee would never lost that precious, naïve yet the true view over what this season really means.
But then again, I am not Aimee. I wish I had Christmas tree and decorations in our house and to pamper myself with the outgoing promotions in shops and malls (O Lord, pardon my honesty :P), but I just can’t because we are in still in the midst of struggle involving financial matters.
But maybe, maybe… only in this kind of situation I could get to devour more of the true meaning of Christmas, without being manipulated by what the world offers. Maybe only in this certain circumstance I could only see that Christmas is truly about celebrating the birth of my Savior, the King of Kings, not about being gleefully engaged in “Christmas sales” and else.
And if I want to give thanks for God’s blessings, I simply only have to look at my basic needs that God has them met abundantly. I give thanks for plenty nutritional food in the fridge to feed my family, for outfits that God has supplied, for a shelter for us to live under, for safe water and sanitation, for supporting friends and community. Not all people have all those basic needs met (the donation brochure about certain community in Laos needing desperately those basic needs I mention at above which I read days ago rebuked my heart that ‘always want more’ where I have had my needs in abundance).
Forgive me Lord to have this special season always be contaminated by my sinful acts and thought and wishes. Forgive me Lord for many times I yield into the temptation trying at their best to distract my focus upon You.
Yet, thank You Lord that You never stop bringing me back to Your heart, that You never grow weary reminding me, even if it has to be in forms of discipline.
I thank You Lord for Your perfect patience, for Your perfect love, for Your perfect grace and mercy – all in abundance, for the imperfect me.
I know this sentence has so much to live for rather than to merely say it, but I just want to say that I love You, Lord.
Even this love is far way from perfect, I know, that You never forsake me. I count only on Your perfect love, not on my ability to love You.
Happy birthday, Jesus! 🙂 🙂 🙂
(and happy holiday too, folks!)