Keeping Christmas all the year

honor christmas

Every year at Christmas, we watch The Muppet Christmas Carol. The songs are a bit cheesy and more than a bit dated, but the story is sweet and funny, and my kids love it. Best of all, it stays surprisingly true to the text and spirit of Dickens’s masterpiece and includes quite a few direct quotes from the book.

IMG_9764-001

Other than Tiny Tim’s iconic, “God bless us, every one,” probably the most well known Christmas Carol quote occurs when Scrooge fiiiiiiiiinally “gets it” and declares: “I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year!”

IMG_9901

But wait. Why am I doing a Christmas post when 2014 is less than 18 hours away?

IMG_9937

Because I can think of no better New Year’s resolution than keeping Christmas in my heart all the year.

After all, Christmas is not actually about new bikes and designer purses. It’s not about Santa and his elves. It’s not even about a time when the world is maybe just a little bit kinder and gentler place (is it really, though?).

IMG_9970

It’s about Jesus, the Christ.

IMG_9749

It’s about the Word who became flesh and dwelt among us and gave words like these flesh too:

christmas1

Emmanuel. Not distant and cold but near and more real than the warm blood that pulses through our veins. God with us, coming down in the midst of our sticky apple juice floors, bankrupt finances, shattered marriages, grief for a lost child, and bitter feuds.

IMG_9983

Even though he didn’t have to. Even though he could have stayed in heaven on his throne and left us wallowing in our sin and despair. Even though heaven come down to earth in the form of a babe lying on a prickly bed of hay is so radical and strange that most of the scholars anxiously awaiting their Messiah couldn’t recognize him in the rumpled, red face of a newborn. Even though dwelling among us meant that he would one day die a violent, bloody, excruciating death among thieves. 

IMG_9775

Yes, Christmas is about love and joy and generosity and peace, and I certainly want those in my heart year-round.

But it’s also about pain and sacrifice and taking up your cross.

IMG_9727-001

Because Jesus was born to die for our sins. And then rise again. There’s the true joy. There’s the gospel, the extravagant good news of Christmas. And life. And eternity.

Jesus was born to save us all.

IMG_9991

Of course, if I simply try to keep Christmas in my heart all the year, I will fail. Miserably. I will get distracted and absentminded. I will become overwhelmed and bogged down in the cares of life. I will be snippy and tart and and selfish and just plain mean. I know because I did all of those things at certain points during the much-lauded “most wonderful time of the year.”

I know because I’m fighting them today when my children interrupt my writing to make audacious requests for milk and lunch and more toilet paper.

IMG_9893

Thank God there’s more good news: because of Jesus in me, I already have Christmas in my heart, today and every day.

I know it. And yet I forget.

IMG_9715-002

So, this year, I want to remember like no other year before it. To wake up each day with Christmas in my heart because the God of the universe donned a cloak heavy with every trapping of humanity to become the Savior of the world.

IMG_9787

I have a laundry list of specific things I’d like to accomplish in 2014. But they all fade to nothing next to these two commandments:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…

and

Love your neighbor as yourself.

IMG_9815

That’s Christmas. That’s Jesus. And that is my heart’s desire for this new year.

Like what you read? Like M is for Mama on facebook (pretty please?):

9 thoughts on “Keeping Christmas all the year

  1. I’m catching up on my blogs and just saw this…and I just wanted to say that this was a beautiful post! It touched my heart 🙂 Thank you.

  2. I too want, “To wake up each day with Christmas in my heart because the God of the universe donned a cloak heavy with every trapping of the world to become the Savior of the world.” AMEN That will go in my quote book with your name on it. I don’t think I have ever heard the true meaning of Christmas expressed in such a beautiful way. Thank you.

  3. absolutely wonderfully put. “The Christmas Spirit” is really just an acknowledgement of the amazingly awesome gift God has given us through his son, and it is something all Christians should feel all the time, not just at Easter or Christmas. Great resolutions that I think I will also be adopting

  4. Thank you for this reminder. I, too, am in love with The Muppet Christmas Carol. I need to savor these words for all the dreary, weary days ahead…

I love hearing from you guys!