I was heading home for the holidays and was trying to make as much distance that first day as possible. As I settled into the Motel 6 (hey, take dogs) that night, I snuggled into my bed and grabbed the remote. Oddly enough, the TV was already tuned into a Christmas movie and it had just started. Life didn’t get much better than that.
The quality was noticeable right off the bat. I could tell this was going to be good! And, as it appeared to be a newer version of the classic A Christmas Carol with an all-star cast, I couldn’t resist to commit for the duration.
The scene that depicted Christmas Day will stick with me as long as I live. I honestly do not remember any other footage as it affected me so that night. But it was telling.
It was Christmas morning and everyone, and I mean every single person in the town was completely and boisterously full of joy. It was early and it was cold outside, but each and every townsman was hurrying to ready themselves and head off to church. Yes. You heard me right. Church.
As each businessman, woman and child shuffled into their pews they joined in singing the carol at hand at the tops of their lungs. They sang with such gusto and with hearty smiles that I noticed I had tears in my eyes. Oh, for that experience. For that blustery joy.
Then it hit me. Can you even imagine trying to get people to church on Christmas morning these days? You’d have a cultural fight on your hands. And I don’t mean from those that never cross the threshhold of a sanctuary. I mean the God-fearing, church-going crowd. They would give their respective church staffs considerable grief. And to be honest, I don’t think they’d even show up.
We have become so addicted to “watching Johnny and Susie” open their presents on Christmas morning that everything about the day is trumped by that sacred tradition. I have seen grandparents literally made furious by not being present in time for the big moment. And too, I have seen parents jump through hoops to make sure they try to appease all parties involved in hopes of avoiding familial devastation.
All that to say, there is nothing wrong with the excitement that we get from watching those we adore open their gifts. It’s natural. And I know I look forward to it every year. But honestly, wouldn’t it be amazing if we all couldn’t wait to get to church Christmas morning? To share the true joy of the season, to celebrate together and then to go our separate ways rejoicing in the reason?
It’s not something that’s going to happen anytime soon. I assure you. At least not in America. But I can watch the movie each year and at least participate with them in my heart. And who knows, I might actually get the DVD, pop it in, and play that scene each Christmas morning as part of a new personal tradition. No promises, but a nifty idea to be sure.
Just my thoughts.