Come with me into the world of the designer Christmas impostors. They feel, smell and taste so similar to the real thing you’ll hardly be able to tell the difference. They give quick and easy festive feelings. Some are even quite good and noble- yet even they are impostors. See if you’ve been taken in by any of these imitations:
*Cookies and Cuddles Christmas: This Christmas impostor brings with it expectations of cuddling in front of the toasty fireplace. The last batch of homemade sugar cookies are just ready to come out of the oven. The aroma is heavenly. A hint of apple cinnamon from the cinnamon scented pine cones wafts down the hallway, welcoming all who enter. There are plenty of cozy, fleece throws to go around. Mom pulls out the cookies and plates them along with a perfect cup of hot cocoa to go with watching Christmas movies.
*The Bell Ringer Christmas: This Christmas impostor is all about giving. Doing good by volunteering at the rescue mission and bringing a meal on Christmas Day to the shut-in down the street. There is nothing better than putting in a larger than expected gift into that red kettle and seeing the volunteer’s face light up. The Giving Spirit shows up with “pay it forward” cups of coffee at Starbucks and drive-thrus at McDonald’s.
*Black and White Photo Christmas: This Christmas impostor is all about remembering. The photo albums come off the shelves and the stories roll off the tongues. There is laughter and tears. Memories. Lots of memories. The tree ornaments tell tales going back 50 years. The grandfather clock chimes, but time stands still here.
*The Winter Wonderland Christmas: The Christmas impostor is all about snowy weather. The children play on sleds wearing waterproof mittens. The teens make solid forts and have snowball fights. All the seasonal songs fit. Fresh snow blankets the ground on Christmas morning. Mom gets plenty of great photos of snowmen, angels, and rosy-cheeked children to post on social media.
*The Swinging from the Chandelier Christmas: This Christmas impostor is all about that bass (Sorry, Meghan Trainer!) No seriously, this impostor is one party after another. There are new dresses, new bars, and new friends. You walk in the room and are immediately the center of attention. The décor is festive and the drinks are flowing and the music is loud.
*The Family Reunion Christmas: This Christmas impostor is all about being together. The family comes in from across the country. There are caravans of generations following one another to check out the colorful Christmas lights. Great-Grandpa cuddles the new baby. Aunt Ruth makes her famous stuffing. Laughter fills the home and there is easy conversation. Christmas morning the tree is overflowing with presents and parents have the simple joy of just watching the cousins play so well together.
Do you see any of these Christmas impostors calling out to you?
Perhaps a combination of all six? Do you wonder why all the elements which are supposed to create the perfect Christmas experience fail? Appealing to comfort, generosity, nostalgia, picture postcard weather, parties and family time to create the perfect Christmas is downright exhausting. The Christmas songs and movies give us the impression we can have all of this from one month or even one day a year. That is an impossibility and many of us exhaust ourselves in the effort to make it happen (along with holding down jobs and caring for kids who invariably catch Christmas colds.)
I assert the reason none of these designer Christmas impostors can create the desired feeling is because they lead with only themselves. Let me explain. Anything can be enjoyable at Christmastime when Christ is at the center and any activity is added to celebrating the birth of Christ. When any of these impostors takes precedent over Christ, there will be disappointment and even sin present. You may ask, how is that possible with even the very charitable bell ringer? Giving to charity is wonderful but a very short-lived joy if it is not simply an outpouring of love and thankfulness for what Christ has done for us in his birth, death and resurrection. Giving can be selfish when it is a “look at me” action to try to get attention. The parties will end (and perhaps lead to regrets.) The family will go home (or not be able to come at all.) The remembering may lead to grief. The snow may not come. The tastes and smells may lead to weight gain. The Christmas ideals may be idols.