Just because everyone believes something doesn’t make it true. I need to remind myself of 4 Christmas myths every year at this time.
Webster defines a myth as “an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true.” Here are the myths of Christmas:
1. Christmas is the “perfect holiday”
I remember several years ago trying to rush my family along to get to Mass on time. I just wanted to be on time. Is this too much to ask? We were going to the overflow 4:15 pm Mass in the gym because we knew we would never make in time to go to the 4 pm in the church. I was mad because in my mind I wanted the Hallmark Channel Christmas but instead we were sitting in the hallway outside the gym unable to get into Mass, because we were late of course.
Somehow in the midst of this, God gently reminded me he was born in a smelly, disgusting animal feeding trough. If your Christmas isn’t perfect or even painful, lonely, or sad, remember it’s a myth that Christmas is supposed to be perfect. The first Christmas was a beautiful moment in what seemed to be a terrible situation.
God showed up there anyway.
2. Christmas is fake.
Large inflatable Christmas decorations make me angry. There’s probably something wrong with me, but they really do make me angry. A neighbor used to have an oversized inflatable snow globe that had rotating parts. I would sometimes slow down and just stare at it. Perhaps I was contemplating slashing the inflatable with a knife.
This year everywhere I look there are Star Wars Christmas decorations. I love Star Wars, but seriously?
The greatest myth of Christmas is most likely that Christmas is about whatever you want it to be about. Know this: Christmas is real. God entered into our world in a messy manger scene. This is the pivotal moment of human history.
If you haven’t really experienced this, that’s okay. It’s okay because it’s not too late. God became man in Jesus Christ. This reality changes everything because in Jesus we see who God is, we see who we really are, and we are invited to share in the greatest love story ever.
3. I’ll be ready for Christmas.
Yes, you can bet we were ready at my house for Christmas. This is not my doing. It is thanks mostly in part to my amazing wife, target.com, Amazon Prime and the UPS guys who always seem to be bringing a package.
I won’t be ready for Christmas though because I haven’t prayed as much as I wanted to this Advent, got my act completely together or finally achieved the sainthood that I thought I was going to accomplish this Advent.
You can’t be fully ready for God. Remember, you are human. He is God. You don’t deserve, nor will you ever deserve, his love. It’s his gift. That is the gift of Christmas.
4. It’s over.
Those awesome radio stations that play non-stop Christmas music will be seemingly blown to bits by the Death Star on Dec. 26 at 12:01 am because Christmas is over. Before the weekend ends everyone’s decorations will also disappear.
Christmas isn’t supposed to be perfect. It’s real. You’ll never be ready for it, and don’t stop celebrating it yet.
Wishing you the best Christmas ever,