The True Magic of Christmas
By Michelle Axton Kelly
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2 ESV
I tearfully told a friend about our disastrous July 4th weekend. It was just another in a string of disappointing holidays that started with such promise… but ended in tears.
I told her my husband just didn’t understand the importance of holidays. But before I could provide examples of how he played a role in my sadness, her words stopped me.
“He’s right. Holidays aren’t important.”
The room was silent as my breath was taken away. I blinked. “Come again?”
She repeated, “Holidays aren’t important, especially if they put a strain on your marriage.”
I left our conversation angry. I had carefully sought out this person to help me feel better. To validate me. What would Martha Stewart say about her words? Holidays. Aren’t. Important? Please. I had to create precious memories for our children, right?
If not, how would they ever know the magic of Christmas? The joy of a hot July 4th celebration? The excitement of a spring Easter Sunday?
In my own childhood memories, Christmas was my favorite. The inexpensive traditions we had still touch my heart. Each year, we would make our own salt dough ornaments and string cranberries and popcorn for the tree while Christmas carols played on vinyl.
I don’t remember the toys we received as much as I recall all nine of us, gathered around our television to watch Charlie Brown, Rudolph and Frosty. The magic of Christmas.
I chased that specialness for years, even after my emotional conversation with my friend. Each Christmas season held impossibly full to do lists as I tried to create a picture-perfect memory for my own family. I developed hard fast rules about what made a Christmas “complete” and when my husband didn’t share that vision with me? Trouble erupted.
Thankfully, our God is an awesome God. He transformed my heart and taught me to slow down. Focus. Today I approach holidays with “must have” and “nice to have” lists. The few traditions we’ve held on to have given our family joy.
A wonderful outcome has been that, instead of pulling away amid the frenzy, my husband has become more engaged, partnering with me during these special, and now happy, days. Most importantly, we put the focus back on the birth of Jesus Christ. And with that? We’ve captured the true magic of Christmas.
Do you feel frazzled and disappointed after Christmas festivities have come to a close? This year focus on key traditions that will make the holiday season special for your family… and then give yourself permission to let the other stuff go.
It would be my privilege and honor to pray for you. Please email me at email@example.com.
Dear God, Thank You for our most precious blessings and the true gift that the birth of Jesus Christ represents at Christmas. Hold us close to You during this busy season and prompt our hearts to fill each day according to Your will. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17 ESV
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance.” 1 Peter 1:14 ESV
“For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church?” 1 Timothy 3:5 ESV
© 2018 by Michelle Axton Kelly. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Monday, 27 December 2021.