Today, my husband posted a “personalized” Santa Claus video on Facebook that we’d made and sent to our daughter. One of his friends, a staunch atheist, made this comment on the thread: “I’m telling [my son] the truth about Santa, because I don’t want to tell him a lie, besides, if he starts believing cultural mythology, who knows what he might start believing.”
I felt his comment was kind of Grinchy so I fired off a less-than-patient reply — told him that he’d “missed the point.” I immediately recognized that my comment was made in frustration — something I try to avoid, since the Internet is a mean enough place without me joining in — so I quickly deleted my response. He must have seen it anyway, though, because when I logged in again tonight I noticed that he’d added another reply: “Katie, ‘you missed the point’ is an easy thing to say. Please explain what the point is, then I’ll know.”
After some deliberation, I decided I’d answer his question (hopefully with a much gentler spirit than before). This is what I wrote:
I gave a talk at our ward Christmas party this evening, which I called “Behold, the Condescension of God.” Thought I’d share it here…
2010 has been something of a rough year. I don’t say this to be dramatic or to elicit sympathy and pity: people have rough years. This was one of mine. But even at its darkest, I have seen purpose in it, have recognized that God is tearing away more and more of what I thought I needed but that I don’t, so that more and more of who He made me to be can be displayed with clarity.
Still, December 23 had me on the phone with my sister. Again. In tears. Again. Wondering how I could celebrate Christmas with all its joy and spectacle when I felt so distant from anything remotely resembling it.
Then I remembered. For all the lights and tinsel, for all the sparkling packages and clanking bells, for all the Hallelujah choruses, the decadent food, the elaborate parties, the ugly sweaters with sequins and snowmen and swirls — we are honoring the birth of a God who, ultimately, came to suffer; and in His sufferings, triumph.
That is not to say the triumph doesn’t deserve the joy and gaiety we lavish upon it; merely that this year I needed to focus on the humility of His beginning and the depth of His condescension — so lowly, so meek, that He came to meet me where I am.
So to the God born in a barn, not in a palace, not in a hospital, not even a clean bed, and laid to sleep in a feeding trough: Thank You. You have no beauty that I should desire You, You who are smitten and afflicted, bruised and forsaken — and yet I do. From the depths of my soul, I do!
Every year, I make a mixed tape of fun and unusual Christmas songs to share with friends (see this Grooveshark playlist for some of the selections I included this year).
Today, I thought I’d do something extra special: a mix of the very worst Christmas songs of all time! These songs are so terrible, you’ll wish you had a gallon of eggnog (the real kind!) to drown your sorrows.
Without further ado, here they are…