11-santaI confess.  I have Christmas brain.  I wasn’t looking to acquire it this year, but there it is.  Glitzed up, lit up, over-the-top buy-in of the cultural Christmas norm.

All I wanted was the gracious appreciation of the wonder of the season, the “all is calm, all is bright” beauty of the sweet and simple celebration of the coming of Messiah.  Instead I’ve given myself unreal expectations of cookies that need to be baked, gifts that need to be crafted, gatherings to attend and host with a maniacal sense of ho ho ho.  I can’t really achieve any of it, but that won’t stop me from trying.

Unless I can tame the Christmas brain.

Christmas brain is that part of my psyche that insists that I must do everything Christmas, and do it to the best of my ability.  Find the most amazing cookie recipes and bake dozens of them to give to friends and neighbors.  Decorate my home so that, upon entering, one is whisked away to a winter wonderland, here in the middle of Florida.  Carefully wrap each gift and learn to make intricate bows that bring “oohs” and “ahhs” of delight.  Enjoy a nightly Advent celebration that brings the whole family into the real meaning of Christmas.

Well, the tree is up.  Most of the Christmas tubs haven’t been opened; the decorations remain packed.  Including the Advent wreath.  The first batch of Christmas goodies I made I burned.  And I can’t find the wrapping paper I bought on sale last year to save my life.

And all that puts me in such a dither that I completely forget that God has made all things calm and bright by giving us the only gift any of us will ever need.

The Savior.

John and I had the opportunity to see the Candlelight Celebration at Disney last night, where hymns and carols intersperse the telling of the Christmas story.  The real Christmas story.  As I sat and allowed the beauty of the music and the truth of the words to wash over me, I realized that the story itself is so simple, so beautifully uncomplicated.  The King of kings was born a Man, and the lowest people on the totem of preferability were the first to hear of His coming and show up to worship Him.  The shepherds, smelly from being in the fields with the sheep, grasped the beauty of Who lay before them.  They came bearing no gifts, no food, no riches–just the offering of simple faith.  They rejoiced in wonder.

My best laid plans to make this a calm yet joyous season are melting like snow in Florida.  I seem to do myself in with my great intentions and ridiculous expectations.  But I love that God reminds me that His love for me isn’t based on what I do for this celebration of His Son.  His love for me is grounded in the Son He sent to save me.

I think God is working at reprogramming my Christmas brain.

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