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The Perfect Christmas

The Perfect Christmas

About this time every year I start getting very excited about the season. I have spent the previous two months being upset that Christmas decorations showed up in the stores in October, grousing about all of the commercialism that now attaches itself to this time of year. But even that canít drown the growing excitement. Maybe itís the school calendar that Iíve lived on for most of my life and the expectation of some vacation time coming soon. Perhaps the growing anticipation comes from the cards in the mail and the memory of people and places that have intersected my life through the years.

Every year I start thinking about how good it will be Ė sitting in front of the fire, watching the old favorite movies, eating the favorite foods that accompany our family holiday traditions. And I have this vision of everyone getting great pleasure from every gift given and every gift received.

In the midst of my expectations, I also dream dreams of life beyond all of the Christmas debates Ė of a season of rejoicing over the coming of God in the flesh, without having to defend the date of December 25. So what if we donít know exactly when he was born. To debate when is to miss the importance of what and why and so what. I get excited about leaving behind all of the questions of commercialism versus the Jesus story Ė and leaving behind all of the questions about the Jesus story itself. Joy to the World; the Lord is come! Let heaven and nature and all of Godís creation sing! In my dream everyone has perfect pitch and the harmonies are spine tingling.

In my dream of the perfect Christmas, I dream of a day spent celebrating meaningful relationships. No quarrels over how the day is spent. Relationships made meaningful precisely because God chose to become a baby, chose to come in our image just as he made us humans in his image in the beginning. In my perfect Christmas, there are no more heartaches that accompany the stark reminder of lost or failed relationships; just the joy of new creation togetherness.

I may not experience my dream, but dreams are a gift too at this time of year. They fuel my excitement and will sustain me through all that doesnít quite live up to my expectations this time around. After all, itís not about us creating the perfect Christmas Ė God already did that, and folks didnít think it was so perfect then, either.

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