They say the holidays bring people together. I don’t know who “they” are, but I suppose the statement is mostly true. My own son will be coming home from his freshman year of college, precisely because it is the holidays. And yes, I will use that word, not because it is some sort of politically correct description for this season rather than Christmas. I use it because these are holidays, especially if we consider the etymology of the word as “holy-days.” The incarnation of Jesus Christ is, most certainly, holy.
So, it’s the holidays and people are coming home, people are coming together. Now what?
Well, if your family is anything like mine. The people who will be brought together with you come from all walks of life. In my family, some are Christians, some are not. Some are of the same doctrinal persuasion, some are not. Some are homeschoolers, some are not. Some are public school teachers, some are not. Some are funny, some are not. Some are nice, some are not. Some have a “filter,” some do not.
Even so, what I know about Christmas is that Jesus came into a world filled with people who were different. Some believed in Him, some did not. Some were Pharisees, some were not. Some were tax collectors and harlots, some were not. Some crucified Him, some did not. Yet He came anyway and He loved us anyway. And I want to be like Him.
I want to love everyone who comes together with me this Christmas season. I want to love them even if they think we’re crazy Jesus freaks. I want to love them even if they think our children are unsocialized, homeschooled weirdos. I want to love them even if they aren’t very nice to us. I want to love them because Jesus loves us.
I can remember getting all worked up because a family member asked me, “So, Matt, are you still homeschooling your kids?” All I wanted, at that moment, was the perfect “word.” I wanted the perfect “word” to hurl at them, to shut them up. Christmas with family had become about convincing everyone else that what I was doing was right. Or, at the very least, it had become about convincing them to just accept what I was doing as good enough.
I, the Christian, homeschooling dad, had left Christ out of Christmas. And, whether anyone said so or not, they all felt it: my wife, my children, and my family. I don’t know what they thought of me, but I wondered, at times, if they were thinking to themselves, “So this is what homeschooling is all about.”
I want to be together for the holidays, but I want to be together for a holiday that keeps Christ in Christmas. So I’m going to love them. I’m going to love them with my words and I’m going to love them with my actions. It isn’t going to matter so much whether they approve of me or my choices; it is going to matter if they see me, my wife, and children as part of a family that loves them. That’s who we’ll be; that’s who we’ll strive to be. That will make for a holiday worth being home for; that will make for a holiday that is Christ-centered.