Slightly Obsessed #167: The Year I Broke Christmas
And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.’
– Revelation 21:5
It’s all a blur in my head, the snippet of a memory more than fifty years back.
I couldn’t have been more than five and my little brother was two or three.
Christmas came late and all at once at our house. Decorations were sparse in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and no tree adorned the house until Christmas morning. Every Christmas, we awakened to a fully decorated tree, dancing with lights and shimmering icicles in the early morning darkness. Under it lay our gifts, hand-delivered by Santa himself. It was a miracle.
Like most children on Christmas morning, my brother and I awakened before our folks and raced to the dining room of our little house. Sure enough, Santa had arrived sometime in the night with our gifts and THE TREE.
THE TREE was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. We were transfixed momentarily by the wonder of it all. My brother danced around it in joy. I just had to hug it.
In my enthusiasm, I hugged it too hard. It lunged toward me, then past me, and crashed to the floor. Glass shattered everywhere.
THE TREE, the beautiful, magical tree, lay dead on the floor.
The commotion awakened our folks, who came rushing into the dining room to find me wailing. I had broken Christmas. I was inconsolable. My little brother just stood there, stunned by the magnitude of my transgression. The fall of Rome could have hardly been less traumatic.
My parents comforted me and righted the tree again. I don’t remember anything else about that day, not opening presents or eating Christmas dinner or playing with my gifts. Only my unintentional tree-hugging disaster is burned into my memory.
I’ve broken other Christmases since then, in other ways. Sometimes it’s my frustrations with situations happening around me that I can’t fix. Many times, I work too hard and get tired and irritable with my family. Sometimes, I just can’t shake the sadness of the year’s heartaches enough to rejoice in the season. I focus on my failures and forget all the reasons to celebrate.
Sometimes, I still feel like wailing.
That’s when my Father comes to my rescue. He never rebukes me for my failures. Instead, He comforts me and reminds me it’s all fixable. He is, after all, the Redeemer of the broken, the one who makes all things new.
He also brings a new perspective to our failures. Years from now, what will we remember about our lives? Will we waste His grace reliving our mistakes?
Or will we choose to live in joy, celebrating the gifts the Father has given so freely?