The house is still. You know, the kind of still and quiet and empty that is heavy with the weight of fullness. Just a few hours ago my home buzzed with the sounds of a family Christmas gathering. There was turkey eating, gift giving, bike riding, board game playing, bed jumping, pot scrubbing and baby holding and it was another glorious December 25th. With all the hustle and bustle of things I haven't been able to sit back and take it all in until just now.
I have been meaning to write this Christmas post for over a week now, the words swirling around in my head taking place one right after the other in line. I have been taking notes here and there, recording audio paragraphs on long car rides on my thoughts on this year's holiday season. I learned a lot this year upon a revisiting of the Christmas story in Luke and Matthew. I've had "ah-ha" moments amidst giving planning mania. I've pondered for long sentimental periods of time over the notion of "giving" and "receiving". Oh, it was going to be good. But now that I sit down just 30 minutes shy of December 25th leaving us in its dust once again none of those words I composed in my head seem to matter anymore. At the end of today, this day of giving and receiving madness, I have come to feel as if I have nothing left to offer.
But maybe that is the best place to be. Maybe I get so caught up in the giving sometimes that my open arms—heavy with the weight of all the things I think I have to offer—have no room left to receive.
It didn't dawn on me, this self-proclaimed "giver" until midway through this holiday season that Christmas, true Christmas, has absolutely nothing to do with giving. Christ was born, just a baby in a barn over 2000 years ago. A miracle. Our Messiah. Our Savior humbled himself and came to earth asking us to give nothing, to bring nothing to Him but a heart ready to receive.
Christmas. True Christmas.
Just a little over five months ago I found myself in a scene somewhat different than that Bethlehem barn, yet in both places we were waiting for a baby. And though his momma labored, his dad nervously paced and I scurried about snapping pictures and video galore we all knew at the end of the day that we weren't there to give a thing. Much like Christmas this life, this baby and even the images all along the way were a gift that we were all simply there to receive.