Christmas in Bethlehem
I started watching Christmas movies in October because that’s when my favorite channel started airing them. Since October I have been daily inundated with the perfect characters with the perfect wardrobes (complete with hair and makeup) living out the perfect romances to round out their most perfect Christmases. I can’t lie, my binge watching led to an extremely stressful and disappointing weekend of decorating my own home for the Christmas season. My children did not like my choice of classic Christmas movies or music playing in the background as I tried to set the stage for our “perfect” day of trimming the trees. There was no cookie baking, making of popcorn strings, or playful tosses of tinsel. No choruses of carols being sung or kisses under the mistletoe. No, my Christmas season began with fights, eager little hands grabbing and throwing decorations out of their boxes in order to “see it all”, and stifling panic attacks. I spent a significant portion of time trying to protect ornaments from the throws of toddler tantrums and diving to catch the ones that had been hung on the tips of the branches as they fell to their death.
In the movies the characters can deck every hall, trim the tree, make gingerbread houses, hang lights and basically have an entire 2,000 square foot winter wonderland within a five-minute montage. My tree was barely decorated within two hours. My Christmas experience thus far has been far from perfect and I know I’m not the only one. The problem is that the stories being told in these Christmas movies are far from relatable. Most suburban housewives, while we may have fast paced jobs, have not lived the high demanding lifestyle of a big city corporate world. Most of us have never been stranded in a small town a week before Christmas, although we may like the idea of being forced to slow down and smell the pine. Some of us may have experienced whirlwind romances, but, we don’t usually meet and declare someone to be our soulmate within a time span of four days. The most devastating part for me is that I live in Texas where having a White Christmas would be roughly the same as spotting Big Foot (does it exist if you’ve never seen it?).
There is one Christmas story, however, that is completely relatable if we take the time to relate to it. It is even relatable to the romantic Christmas movies that have built a following that almost equals the following of its own. There is no Christmas story like the original and it has all the same main highlights. Single girl on track to living out her best life. Travel is involved as well as an unexpected stop in the middle of the trip with no place to stay. There is a romance between your two favorite characters. It has an unexpected plot twist complete with an anti-climactic misunderstanding between the couple and the truth is then revealed, in this case by an angel, reuniting them. Peace and harmony are restored, and the Christmas story ends with the greatest love in the history of the world. We may stop at the words “virgin birth” and think of a miraculous Christmas story that we could never actually relate to. But let’s take some time together this season and discover that it does relate to our lives more than any other story ever could. Over the next few weeks we will dive into a slow-paced study of three different pieces in the story of the birth of Christ and reflect on how we can relate them to our own lives.
Be watching for the first devotion later this week and download the full pdf from our home page to follow along.