It seems that the Christian thing to do these days is to lament how Christmas has become too commercial, too abstract, too material and then to insist that it’s all about Christ’s birth and him being the reason for the season. And we do this with status updates and tweets while we’re in line to check out at one of the over-crowded establishments responsible for making Christmas so darned commercial because we are participating in many ways we probably wont admit in the abstract and materialism.

Having worked in retail, I know.

Trust me. I know better than most of you ever will and you should thank God for that. I have seen the dark side and it is very dark, indeed.

However, this year I learned something that I plan on carrying with me for, well, the rest of my life if I can manage it.

I learned to open my eyes.

Christmas is about what we choose to notice. It’s about what we honor with the gift of our attention and the attitude with which we face what we are looking at.

The Nativity story is full of people who noticed things and responded to what they noticed– wise men who noticed a star, shepherds who noticed the angels, inn keepers who noticed a need…

So my choice the last couple of days has been to notice something other than the Christmas that is in all of our faces, and instead honor Jesus’ birth by looking for him wherever I am.

This was my Christmas…

Spending Christmas Eve with a dad who tells me I am beautiful without makeup, who cries with me at the movies and who carries the groceries to the car because it’s the gentlemanly thing to do.

People smiling at one another in parking lots.

A whole theater of people trying to exit stopping and standing silently to listen to real voice of a character portrayed in the film.

Kisses and hugs and more kisses from children who love me and whom I love dearly.

New friends who jump right in with both feet.

My family.

Having a front row view of my youngest sisters face as the man in her life asked her to marry him.

Tears that are happy and sad and hilarious.

Laughing so hard I cried at 6am.

The sound of my dad’s laughter (you don’t get an out loud laugh very often from him, but when you do, it’s awesome).

Good food made by loving hands with care and attention to detail.

Grey skies, cool air, leaves all over the ground.

Conversations with good friends who aren’t afraid to tell the truth even when the truth may be painful to hear.

Waking up to the warm glow of Christmas lights and the comfort that comes with knowing I am safe and sound in my father’s house.

 

I hope that what you noticed today are good things. I hope that what you choose to notice tomorrow will also be good things. I hope that we will all take more time in the future to talk about the good things that we notice and give space to the wonder and beauty that is around us if we will see it.

Happy Christmas to you all.

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