Staring at the blinking Christmas lights, listening to Christmas carols on Spotify, making reindeer-shaped cookies, buying gifts on Amazon for family and friends…
After a while, Christmas can begin to feel old…dull…and even depressing.
As I discussed a couple weeks ago, Christmas used to seem exhilarating. It was full of wonder and excitement! I laid in bed on Christmas Eve, wondering if I heard Santa’s sleigh on our roof. I built a gingerbread house with my babysitter, carefully placing each piece of candy. I spent countless time decorating the Christmas tree with tons of ornaments and hand-woven snowflakes my grandmother had made. I picked out special gifts for my parents, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Now, I lay in bed on Christmas Eve and wonder what classes to take next semester. I build a wall around my time on Christmas break so that I can spend as much time relaxing. I spend countless time worrying about a future career and a future family. I pick out less gifts because I’m an Ebenezer Scrooge who hates spending a single penny.
My Adult(ish) Christmas Reality
Christmas no longer feels super magical and exciting; instead, it can feel depressing.
The music depresses me because it’s the same music I heard when I was young. The decorations upset me because they’re the same decorations my mom put up when I was young. The ornaments sadden me because they’re the same ones I held when I was young.
It feels like everything about Christmas has changed dramatically. However, believe it or not, Christmas is the same. The traditions are the same. The celebration is the same.
But the way I feel is different because I’m different. My Christmas memories are bittersweet. The times my family shared are sweet, but the reality of my adulthood is bitter.
Which causes me to lose my Christmas spirit.
Help! I Can’t Find My Christmas Spirit!
In response to this loss, I usually let myself fall into the Christmas self-pity trap: Why do I feel this way? No one else feels like this. This is horrible, and it’ll never be better.
I’ve bought the lie that Christmas (and life in general) is all about me. I was selfish about Christmas as a child, and I still am today—but in a different way.
My wish list for Christmas used to be eternally long. I wanted so many things! Now, I have trouble thinking of gifts I want. Instead, I have a wish list for God of things I think He should fix in my life.
But friends, Christmas is not about us. Christianity is not about us. Life is not about us.
It’s not sinful for you to feel un-Christmassy. It’s okay if you believe you’ve lost your Christmas spirit. You can’t force yourself to feel a certain way, but you can force yourself to focus on the truth about Christmas.
And this is the truth about Christmas:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:23 ESV)
God wanted to be with us. In our midst. Here.
No longer separated. No longer distance between us. No longer apart.
Always. Never leaving. Now and forever.
It’s okay if that doesn’t excite you or feel magical. Like I said, don’t pressure yourself to feel a certain way about Christmas. Instead, just accept the truth, be grateful for it, and live by it. This holiday—whether it is happy or not—is not about us. (And that’s a good thing because we’re pretty unreliable.)
The Only Way to Find Your Christmas Spirit
The shepherds came to see Jesus. The wise men traveled to see Jesus. Anna and Simeon wanted to see Jesus.
Mary and Joseph aren’t the spotlights of the Christmas story—and neither are we.
Friend, if you’ve lost your Christmas spirit, maybe you’ve been looking for it in the wrong place. Maybe you’ve been looking at yourself instead of looking to the Savior. We, sometimes unintentionally, become selfish at Christmas by focusing solely on our feelings (and lack thereof). But there is more to Christmas than fickle feelings.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21 ESV)
Even if that verse seems old or cliché, remember that Christmas revolves around this very fact. Not around us. Not around our feelings. Not even around our wish lists or favorite traditions.
The best Christmas spirit we can have is one of thankfulness to God for sending His only Son to our broken world to save us from every sin we’ve ever committed and will commit.
This year, I hope you can find your Christmas spirit in Christ.