"Church is going to ruin my Christmas plans!"
You'd think this was spoken by my 7 year old, maybe the teenager, but alas, it was not. These were my words, spoken after the realization that Christmas falls on a Sunday this year. I'm not proud of them at all. My shame was compounded by the look fom my wife. It was one part "you'd better be glad the kids didn't hear you," one part "seriously!" and three parts "you better check yourself, before you get struck by lightning and with me standing so close, I'm liable to get hit too, and that is going to seriously mess up my hair and then you're really gonna hear it!"
I had all my traditions swirling around in my head. Waking up at some truly obscene early hour and staring at the clock until 6am, when we were allowed to go sit by the tree. At 7am we were allowed to awaken our parents who would make their way, far too slowly, to the tree. We would open presents one at a time so that each person could enjoy the giving of the present as much as its receipt. When all was said and done, there was brunch to be eaten, while one of the parents would assemble toys and cleanup the wrapping paper carnage. With brunch and it's cleanup, we were typically finished around noon and prepared for a car ride to the grandparents house for more carnage. Fast forward 30 years and now I'm the parent, with totally broken children. I still wake up far too early and they seem to want to sleep. We still open presents one at a time, we still have brunch and cleanup. My focus for the holiday has always leaned them towards Christ's birth and it's meaning for us.
Up until this conversation...
I can't remember with leap years and all the last time Christmas fell on a Sunday. I'm sure I was just a silent heathen on that day, opting to put tradition ahead of Christ. I was apparently well on my way this year too. I guess I need to pull out the "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" pin early this year. Perhaps I need to trade it for a larger version so I won't miss it when I look at myself in the mirror. I'm thinking anchor size for a battleship would be appropriate?
Oh! The Irony!
Here are some examples of ways your head could get in the way of your heart, and the things that may come out of your mouth as a result...
"I really had my Worship on, right up until they started singing!"
"Service would have really been good today if we'd stopped praying in the middle of the message."
"I'm sorry Lord, can you hold the rapture until we finish the Easter Egg hunt?"
When have you put church (or religious tradition) before Christ?