Christmas Spirit

By Amanda Casanova

When I tell people my birth date, I get a variation of the same response: “You’re born on Christmas?! Double the gifts!”

“Christmas baby! Do you get twice as many presents?”

Twenty-five years ago on Christmas morning, my mom rushed to the hospital a month earlier than her due date. I became a Christmas baby and the nurses sent me home in a red and white stocking.

Christmas is a complicated time for me because growing up with a younger brother and sister, my birthday tended to get lost in between opening gifts and Santa Claus. I threw a number of fits on Christmas day as a result of this.

See, the things is, I’m really good at making things about me.

As I've grown up, I've stopped throwing fits, but I haven’t stopped making the season about me. I try to be a little nicer. I try not to get road rage. I dig through my purse for change for the Salvation Army. 

I work on finding the perfect gifts to make the best impression. I try to make myself look more Christian, more holy, and more generous.

That’s just part of the problem. I think we’re good at dropping money into charity buckets and helping our neighbors during the holidays, but I don’t want it to be just then.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed an executive director at a north Texas area food pantry for a story I was writing. We were talking about their needs and she said the pantry was stocked, but demand was high.

“We’re going into the holidays though,” she said. “That’s when people do a lot of giving.”

It’s true. This is the season when you and I are more likely to open our wallets to others and we call it “the Christmas spirit.” It changes hearts of grinches and Scrooges and for a moment, you and I are better stewards and better servants.

If you’re getting caught up in the Christmas spirit, enjoy it, but when we finally figure out how to put the tree back in its box and when we stop listening to variations of “Sleigh Ride,” let’s focus on a spirit that doesn't last for just a season. Let’s focus on a God that demands more of us all the time.

Not just for the 30 or so days after Thanksgiving.

Not just for the holidays.

Not just at Christmas.

The bible doesn't tell us to love others or show compassion for only one month. We’re called to do those things all the time, but even greater, we’re called to get caught in a grace that doesn't just show up for a season. Instead, it’s a love that prevails over presents, over these next few weeks, and overwhelmingly over me.