A number of years ago my family started a tradition on Christmas Eve. We went out to Waffle House (because generally if you are working at Waffle house on Christmas Eve you need the money) on Christmas Eve morning for breakfast. We would gather our money together, and leave the waitress a $100 tip. It was a little opportunity to share some of the joy of Christmas, and the love of Christ to a stranger. We kept doing it every year. This year I will be taking my family to Waffle House to do the same. It’s a tradition worth continuing. It is an important reminder.
We see all of those post around this time of year on Facebook “Keep Christ in CHRISTmas.” That’s great advice, but what does that look like? Does it look like posting that meme stating this very thing? That seems to lack some impact. Some would seem to think it means saying “Merry Christmas” instead of the Satan infused “Happy Holidays.” I meant to write on this a ways back and make a much bigger setup, but time got away from me. I still wanted to share a little bit though. I think this message I want to share is important. I have observed all of these influx of Merry CHRISTmas posts for a few years, and it strikes me that the intentions mean well. People want to be a part of something bigger. They want to be a part of sharing this good news, but I think we struggle with finding outlets for it.
Have you ever thought about how the various characters in the Christmas story had their lives completely changed? How do you think the Magi lived after they finally found the Messiah? Who do you think the shepherds told about what they saw out in the field that night? How did they live? We have grown up in this odd tension for Christianity. There is the constant pull over speaking vs. doing. How do we care for the needy? Isn’t the best way to care for the needy telling them about Jesus?
This past Sunday our advent was on Mary. She received a message from an angel. It was incredible news. There was a child. The messiah was going to come, and she was being invited for a miraculous opportunity to take part in this grand story. She received a message. Her life was forever changed. How do you think she lived after that moment? I wonder if her actions became more purposeful. I wonder if she interacted with people differently. All we know for certain is that her response required action. She surrendered herself to be a servant for God in this way. The response to the message was living out the message.
We have the whole “speaking out Christmas” thing down pretty well, but I often ask myself how well I do on the “living” part. How do I live out Christmas in a way that provides context to those words? I struggle with that more than I would like to admit. I’m not sure what this looks like for you. Maybe it means caring for the needs of a family member. Maybe it means showing love to that person you know does not care about Christmas. It could be spending time with your family and loving on your spouse and children. Perhaps it means showing a little glimmer of hope to a stranger even if it means sacrificing a little time or money. Maybe this is through laughter and cheer, maybe by providing a meal, or perhaps even giving a $100 tip to that waitress who is working on Christmas Eve. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but this Christmas Eve I am going to be at Waffle House doing everything I can to live out Christmas. It may not be much, but it’s a start.