Dec 11, 2013

Why I Like Extravagance in Christmas

It seems like every post I come across is about keeping Christmas simpler, pairing down, keeping focus, wishing for less extravagance.  I'm all for that....except the extravagance part. I'm writing this blog post sipping gingerbread tea and listening to Bing Crosby. Clearly, I'm all in when it comes to the Christmas season.

While I'm also "all in" for keeping the meaning of Christmas all about Jesus's birth, this also follows for me that this season is perfect for celebrating in extravagance.  To me, there is no other way to adequately celebrate such a gift without going all out.  Deck those Halls.  I did.  Five big totes came out of the garage so our living room and house could basically throw-up Christmas all over every surface and wall.  When we got the tree all finished, the kids stood in front of it and just gaped.
              "It's so boootiful Mama!" Tessa exclaimed after turning off the main lights.
I agree.  It's beautiful.  So why do I think that Christmas should be done in extravagance since Jesus came to a poor stable to poor migrant parents?  Because even though Jesus came to the poor, it seems like God himself pulled all the stops to celebrate complete with angel choir, a crazy star and rich kings with elegant gifts. There is no more extravagant gift in all this world that the gift He gave to us that night. I can't turn around without being reminded of it this season.  And if you know the story of the first St. Nick, then even Santa Claus is a reminder of how one gives sacrificially to others.  I do know that we are supposed to celebrate every day, all year long, in the joy of Jesus's gift to us, but we should be grateful for a lot of things everyday.  That doesn't mean we do or even can in every moment.  It's the reason we have holidays and the reason God himself gave holidays for His people to celebrate.  It's a time out to reflect and enjoy celebration.  I thoroughly enjoy a season to celebrate, be gaudy, add surprises, and give to others. And while most of the activities we participate in over the season are focused on the nativity, there are few that are just plain fun and imaginative. There isn't even a redeeming tie-in to the nativity.  Yep, I am not even feeling guilty for adding in a little fun that is just for fun itself.  Elf on the Shelf, anyone?
While I say I want extravagance (and I definitely do!) this does not necessarily equate with materialism.  Yes, I love giving gifts at Christmas as this is symbolic to me of receiving the greatest gift of salvation and God with us.  However, we choose to not go crazy over here and keep it pretty simple when it comes to the gifts under the tree. We give two.  But by the time the extended family is done giving to our kids, it's pretty extravagant it seems to me.  I could probably rephrase my meaning better if I added the little word, FOCUSED extravagance.  Extravagance for it's own sake is just plain silly and selfish.
There are seasons for somber reflection.  There are also seasons to celebrate in an all out act of worship.  This is what Christmas represents to me.  All of it.  The lights we put on our house, the tree, the nativities, advent activities, all the Christmas baubles we set around.  It's a month long celebration of appreciation and worship.  We purposely focus this month in all of our activities.  In advent every night, we add a figure sticker to the nativity scene, we memorize Isaiah 9:6, we say Luke 2, we add an ornament to or Jesse tree (which walks us through the Old Testament in anticipation of Jesus' coming), read a devotion, and then we add a fun figure to our winter scene.  Sometimes we play the piano and sing carols. I read to the kids every night a Christmas book from my collection.  I just finished reading to the kids, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."  Have you read it?  You should.  Hunter about died from laughing. But in the middle of the laughter, there is also a few tears at the end as I tearfully choke the words when Leroy gives the baby Jesus his Christmas ham (which just so happened to be the only thing this poor kid had to give).  
It's a time to celebrate others in an extension of God's extravagant love to all.  That's why there are Christmas parties, acts of sacrificial giving, acts of service to the needy, gifts to friends.
So no, I don't like the materialism of Christmas at all....but YES please, let me keep the extravagance. Give me a season to shout "Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!"
Merry Christmas from our house to yours.  I hope you are able to celebrate with focused extravagance this holiday season.  Celebrate on!

1 comment:

  1. Amen, sister! This is EXACTLY how I feel Christmas should be celebrated!