By Todd Brady
Vice President For University Ministries, Union University, Jackson
Although 2015 Christmas celebrations are getting smaller and smaller in our rear view mirrors, a recent question by my toddler several weeks ago continues to linger in my head. On the first Friday in December, we gathered with friends for one of the holiday’s first Christmas parties. We enjoyed the tasty food and the great conversation. A unique twist on our Christmas ornament gift exchange had us all cracking up. It was a lot of fun.
As our family began gathering our things and heading out the door to go back home, 3-year-old Miller grabbed my pants leg and asked “Is Christmas done?”
The music was playing overhead, dishes were clinking in the kitchen, and holiday chatter by adults was all around, but everything was temporarily drowned out by this honest questioning that can come only from a child. I immediately, replied, “No son, there’s a lot more Christmas to go. Now let’s go home so we can take our baths and get ready for tomorrow.”
That was how this grown-up dad answered a little child’s simple question. But as Miller sat buckled in his seat on the ride home and as I have thought more about it, there’s a lot more to his question than I first realized.
Not only did he ask once if Christmas was done. He repeated it over and over throughout the holidays. Every morning during December, he woke up and asked us first thing, “Is Christmas done?” When we’d leave another Christmas party or a Christmas concert, he’d ask again, “Is Christmas done?” Part of me wanted Christmas Day to hurry up and arrive so I could finally say, “YES! Stick a fork in it! Christmas is done! Done, I tell you!”
Americans like for things to be done. We like microwaves in our kitchen. We want our TV sitcoms to wrap up and be over with nicely and quickly. We live our life in a “get ’er done” kind of way — enjoying the completion of tasks and regularly checking things off our proverbial to-do lists. We are a “been-there-done-that-got-the-T-shirt”-kind of people.
It seems to me that Christmas was never meant to be “done.” Sure, the celebration of Christmas comes around once a year, but the cause of the celebration is Someone Who has come to give us hope and peace all year long.
Is Christmas done? Well, if you count the 2015 celebration, yes. It looks like it’s done at our house. We’ve taken the tree down. The stockings aren’t hung on the chimney anymore. The Christmas decorations have been boxed up and hauled back into the attic. All the Christmas goodies on the kitchen counter are gone.
For the last 50 years, Linus has stood on the stage in “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and reminded us of “what Christmas is all about.”
Knowing what it is all about causes me to realize that the answer to my 3-year-old’s question is: “No, Miller, Christmas is never done.”