I’m Dreaming of a Shame-Free Christmas

HOLLY MACKLE|CONTRIBUTOR

You can tell a lot about a person by their feelings on the classic movie, White Christmas. {Mostly whether they’re an elf or a scrooge, but I try not to judge…} Even my use of the adjective “classic” is a dead giveaway and implies a certain head shake toward anyone who might go for another descriptor, say, cloying or omnipresent. My adoration for the movie is well-documented in my Google search history. There has been at least one deep dive into both Wikipedia and IMDB for interesting morsels surrounding this film, none of which are as cool as the fact that my aunt once spent a lovely evening in a night club where a young Rosemary Clooney was the singer.

With such documented affection, it’s a wonder the very object of my adoration manages to condemn me every Christmas. It’s a movie about sisters and tap dancing—how could this be?

In our town we have a lovely and historic downtown theater that shows various holiday movies every December, White Christmas being one of them. And every year I think, “We should really go see it there.” But then it’s showing after bedtime or it’s the day of our favorite Christmas party or it coincides with preschool party day and that would just be too much excitement for the under-7 crowd…and and and…we never make it. Every year. Not a once.

I wish I could say this is a new thing, but it’s not. White Christmas has been playing at our historic theater since college, when I could never spare the study time during finals month.

Sad, right? Sort of pitiful, if you really think about it. But I’m going to pretend I can see you through this computer screen {cute hair, btdubs} and imagine you’re nodding back at me because you get it. And maybe/probably/not quite likely it’s White Christmas that does it to you, but I imagine you have your own little version of it. If it’s not Bing Crosby wagging a metaphorical finger at you every holiday, can you put a finger on what is? Decorations not done up to par? Christmas cookies baked from a sleeve and not from scratch? Gifts not wrapped as beautifully as Pinterest told you they should be? Advent not prepared for properly?

Tsk, tsk, goes the voice in our head, and slither, slither goes the lie right into our hearts, where it starts doing just the work of what it came to do: steal the joy of celebrating the season of our Savior’s birth.

Even if you feel well-schooled in the facts and figures of exactly what that Savior came to earth to do, let’s review for my sake, because I can always use a brush-up. Jesus, the God-man, took on human flesh by being born into the body of a baby, living a perfect and sinless life, and dying a gruesome and wretched death at the very hands of those he came for. And as if that wasn’t enough, he didn’t allow death to hold him in the grave, but rather rose to be seated at the right hand of God, his Father, where he now sits and pleads our case to the ultimate Judge, who looks upon him and sees the work of atonement full and complete in the suffering he endured on our behalf. Sister, if you are in relationship with this Jesus, you are covered, and there’s not a thing you can or can’t do to change that.

So why oh why do we pull out the measuring sticks just in time for Christmas? Why do we focus on the shaming voices outside {or inside} and not on the truth of our standing in Christ?

Sigh. I don’t know either.

But here’s what I do know: love God and make your choices. Heretic! They shout. You must put boundaries and regulations and stipulat…and and and…! No, see, love God. There’s oh so very much wrapped up in those two little words. Love God and let him show you how he’s loved you from the beginning. Love God and see how he longs to free you from bondage to sin. Love God in his Word and let scripture show you what loving him looks like.

For me, this approaching holiday season presents an opportunity to, once again, choose the Forever True over the golden calves of Pinterest, others’ expectations, and my own hopes and ideas. To allow the needs of our young family to determine which traditions we choose and which we let go. And to allow the choices of others to be different from mine. So: I hope you get to celebrate how you like to this season. And if that includes a historic theater and Bing and Rosemary and Danny and Vera-Ellen, well, I hope you get to go. Choose your traditions in freedom and rest, enjoy them, enjoy your people, and lace up those tap shoes—we can practice together when our families aren’t watching.

Editor’s Note: Looking for a way to prepare your heart and your children’s heart for Christmas? Holly Mackle is the author of the family Advent devotional Little Hearts, Prepare Him Room, available online through the PCA bookstore. Use this promotional code for a discount: Engagingmotherhood2017

Holly Mackle writes and gardens in Birmingham, Alabama. She is wife to David and mama of two flower-sneaking bitties. She is the editor of engagingmotherhood.com, an author of the collaborative study for new moms, Engaging Motherhood: Heart Preparation for a Holy Calling (2016), and author of the family advent devotional, Little Hearts, Prepare Him Room (2016). Holly blogs life and tomatoes and diggingsuburbia and is the humorist for joegardener.com.

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