I have two goals this Christmas.
1) Eat my weight in Hawaiian Rolls
2) Be all there.
The first one is obvious (and dangerously easy).
The second is a challenge.
I really love everything about Christmas.
Christmas movies, Christmas cookies, Christmas music, Christmas cookies, Christmas caroling, cookies… you get the point.
As much as I get into the spirit of the whole season, however, I have this tendency to miss out on the actual day. Bing Crosby starts crooning about The Most Wonderful Time of the Year in my car well before Thanksgiving, but when December 25th rolls around it’s easy to feel like something is missing. Last year I noticed this, and re-discovered it as I looked back in my notebook the other day.
On 12/26/14, here’s what I wrote down.
“I have trouble living and appreciating the small moments alongside the big ones. I’ve noticed it more and more lately.
Christmas was a great time. I enjoyed the big traditional moments—unwrapping presents, eating together, etc.—but ignored the smaller ones. When dinner was over I sat around checking every form of social media for the 800th time.”
The big moments are easy to enjoy. There’s a wide-eyed momentum behind the merry spirit in the air that’s near impossible to catch onto.
But for every big moment these next two days, there’s 100 smaller moments. Moments that I’ll miss if I don’t actively jump into them, or better yet make them happen.
This Christmas, I want to be all in for every moment.
I want to tell stories together and laugh from the pit of our full bellies. To talk about football, and maybe even go outside and throw one. I’d like to listen well and celebrate better, showing people their stories matter.
In fact, I think the best thing I can do for my friends and family is to simply be with them.
(If I was more cliche, I’d say the best present you can give is your presence.)
(But I’m not.)
Jesus did this.
Emmanuel, as some called him, quite literally means, “God with Us.”
Instead of saving the world from behind the scenes, Jesus showed up on Earth to be together with us. He spent years hanging out with his friends, not only showing them big miracles but also just living with them in the small moments.
Walking for miles, eating together, fishing together, Jesus freely gave the gift of his presence. He was just there, and that made all the difference.
If I’m going to love people well, I’ve got to buy into the big and small moments, and maybe even instigate a few of them. I need to show up.
Don’t celebrate the season and forget to actually be there on Christmas, there’s too much fun to be had together.
(And seriously, eat a ton of sweet rolls. It’ll make your day better.)