Tis’ the season for Christmas cards and facebook posts with photographs of families all perfectly dressed and coifed, smiling their faces off, and probably lying through their smiling teeth. I know a lot families who look perfect from the outside, but on closer examination their warts become apparent. The Fat Man family has taken multiple pictures over the years where we look pretty put together, but we seldom ever really were. Maybe that is one of the main reasons that the holidays seem to have a melancholy undertone for most people. It has a house of cards feel about it, because it can fall apart so easily.
So what is really so great about this time? For people who cling to, rely upon, and trust in Christ, the greatness comes from our faith. Our imperfections are all covered in the end because of His birth and subsequent payment for our sins, and for that we are thankful. But for those who are not clingy to Jesus, what can redeem this holiday? Perhaps we just need to focus on the good things in our life. For instance Mrs. Fat Man annoys me sometimes, but she is awfully sweet, very pretty, and gives all that she has to take care of her family. Our children never went a day without a bath, and they went to the dentist as soon as their first tooth popped out of their heads. Our house has never been dirty that I can remember, and I’ve never seen her with hairy legs, or dirty clothes. She cares about how she looks, and she cares about us. When I think about her goodness, her occasional annoyances really seem pretty minor. If a person looks hard enough, they can see all sorts of tender mercies in life that can help them muster a little bit of Christmas cheer. That rotten teenage daughter is probably the same little girl who used to love piggy back rides, and will become the same woman who will spend a good portion of her adulthood looking after you as you get older. I could go on, but I think the point is made. Don’t expect this fairy tale Christmas where everyone is in their Christmas sweaters standing around the fireplace talking nice to each other. Instead, just be glad that you get to sit on the couch in your sweat pants and have people who will stay around you in spite of your noxious gas emissions and snoring. Enjoy your slightly dry ham and lumpy potatoes with the people who have shared your joys and sorrows for the last however many years with you. And be thankful for whatever it is that has made your life bearable for however long it is you have been alive. The meaning of Christmas is about the gifts we have been given, but it’s not the ones under that tree in your living room. Merry Christmas!