My New Favourite Christmas Picture
Last year I found a new favourite Christmas picture. I liked it so much that I kept it on my phone all year, after downloading the rest of my photos. The funny thing about this photo is that it has terrible resolution, it’s not centered and there’s a hand taking a picture in the bottom right corner. As far as photographs go, it’s not good. But, you might say, as far as Christmas goes, it fits with the messy, unconventional, not pretty and perfect scene of the manger, but that’s another blog post!
The reason I love this photo so much, is because of what it captures. It wasn’t planned, but our lit-up “Joy” sign is in the background and you can see the look of true joy on my little girl’s face. What is happening outside of the picture is the Christmas story being brought to life. Last Christmas Eve, I had a crazy idea to bring the story to life for my family. Unknown to my kids, wife or in-laws visiting together after the Christmas Eve service, I snuck into the garage, put a towel and necktie around my head, put on a bedsheet and grabbed a hockey stick. I came around the front of the house and rang the doorbell. Everyone was reluctant to answer the door late at night without knowing where I was, but after a few more rings, they finally came. “Matthew the shepherd” burst through the door, jumped up onto a table and began to narrate what he saw that amazing night long ago. You can see in the picture what the reaction was!
But that picture to me is pure joy. It is the joy of Christmas. I think what struck me the most about it, is that joy doesn’t have to come from the perfect gift, the most elaborate Christmas event or the best of this or that. It comes from us, being present, being fully in the moment and giving of what we have. There are parallels to famous Christmas stories, like the drummer boy bringing what he had to baby Jesus. Sometimes, the best gift we can give our families, is ourselves, fully and undistracted.
At Christmas, we have all heard the message over and over again that Christmas is not about gifts and we all know that. That’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is that so many of the most memorable Christmas moments are just us, giving ourselves to those around us in whatever creative form we can think of. Have a very Merry Christmas and may your Christmas be filled with less stress and getting and more joy and friendship!