Too often Christmas is tarnished by too much sentimentality. We put so much pressure on ourselves to create the perfect Christmas. We try to buy that perfect gift. We try to roast that golden turkey. We try and visit everyone we can. We might even wait for that perfect gift or that perfect visit or that perfect card. We get tricked into thinking that it ought to be the most wonderful time of the year.
We all know that it is one of the most challenging times of the year too. It might be the first Christmas without that close friend or relative. They may have moved or died, either way, people grieve deeply during the Christmas season. It might be that a job has been lost or extraordinary expenses were incurred during the year and the usual Christmas indulgences have to be reduced. This can be anything but the most wonderful time of the year.
There are, it seems, as many different expectations for Christmas as there are people. We each are capable of developing an unrealistic set of hopes. Even if everything we’ve ever wanted was under that Christmas tree this year it still seems to fall short of our desires. Yet, it still can be the most wonderful time of the year.
If we move all our expectations away from the trappings of Christmas and if we forget about nonsensical sentimentality like, “it’s all about the children,” maybe we can rediscover the wonder of the season. It is after all, about the birth of the Christ-child. It is all about the love, mercy and forgiveness proclaimed by God for all people, a savior has been born and this is Good News. It is this fact alone that makes Christmastime the most wonderful time of the year. No matter how severely our hopes for a perfect Christmas are dashed, if we can remember whose birth we celebrate and what this means for the world then it is the most wonderful time of the year.