It's that time of year, and yet again I am stuck on the fact that it doesn't "feel" like Christmas! I grew up in Colorado, Michigan and Indiana, which means, that almost all of my Christmas' came with gusting winds, snow and miserable temperatures. It is shocking to me how many things make Christmas for me.
Yesterday the temperature tried to hit the 90 degree mark. It is really hard to listen to "the first Noel" and "the little drummer boy" and think about Christmas when it is this warm. But tonight we sat around a campfire out at our training center and it felt like just possibly Christmas might be approaching. The difference, I was was cold. It was damp having just rained this afternoon, the wind was blowing, and it was cold. We talked about the need to rush in, make hot cocoa and turn on the Christmas Carols before the weather changed again.
Christmas means many new things to me lately. Even though it is tied to my memories of cold weather, it is not the weather that makes it Christmas. Even though I am used to spending it with one of my parents, that doesn't make it Christmas either. And yes, I am used to church on Christmas eve, with everyone dressed in Christmas best, and nope, that doesn't make it Christmas. The fact of the matter is, although it seems like everything here about Christmas seems different, it is only those things that don't really make it Christmas that are different.
Jesus is still the same. No matter what the temperature or climate, no matter who is present or not present, He is there, it was His day, it still is the day that God came near to us and humbled himself to be born in a lowly manger. I suppose if you asked Jesus what Christmas felt like he would give a much different answer than the petty answers about weather and family and tradition (turkey) and gifts. He would probably with joy share about his journey to redeem his people. He would probably share about being made flesh, possibly about itchy straw in the manger, or about the wonder of being made vulnerable and experiencing birth, infancy, and toddler-hood. Christmas isn't about me or my traditions, it is about Jesus, but it is shocking to me over the last few years how much I want to stick to those traditions, those memories, and even make some new ones of my own.
What does Christmas feel like to you?