Getting Carried Away With Christmas

I am an avid Indiana University basketball fan. I was born and raised within 100 miles of Bloomington, so it’s been in my blood since I was a youngster. Some of my fond memories with my dad involve watching IU basketball games, particularly in the 70s when they were one of the best teams in the country. It’s evident that my passion for IU basketball has been passed along and ingrained in my two sons. We, too, have many memories of watching games together.

You need to understand that we seldom watch IU games with others around because we tend to get rather vocal and excited! It was a whole new world for Cindy; I think that our daughter-in-law, Heléna, went through a similar culture shock the first time she was with us during a game. We expend a lot of energy and emotion when we watch. Unfortunately, the past three years have been brutal for IU basketball. Their downturn has dampened my excitement—after all, it’s hard to get your hopes us only to be disappointed over and over again. So, rather than have my hopes dashed, I decided that it’s safer to just not really embrace it anymore. This year, however, the team has recovered; it feels like the old days again. The excitement is back, but part of me is still a little apprehensive to really throw my emotions into it, because I’m afraid of being disappointed. With the help of my sons, who aren’t nearly as skeptical as I, my energy and the fun associated with it, are returning.

Recently, I was thinking about this willingness to risk emotionally and to really engage myself, not in the context of basketball games but in the celebration of Christmas. As we get older, something in us says Now, don’t get too carried away. Don’t get too emotional. That’s for kids. You need to act like an adult. This is untrue and unhealthy.

Christmas is too great an event for us to approach it lightly, halfheartedly, stoically. Christmas, the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God Almighty, is too marvelous, too glorious, too indescribable, too transformational, too world-changing, too monumental to act as though we can take it or leave it! We shouldn’t be ashamed or hesitant to celebrate this amazing day in every way that we can think of. If you want to string lights and greenery, if you want to fill your tree with hundreds of ornaments, if you want to play and sing the Messiah every day, if you want to wear green and red, if you want to reconstruct the story with your family, do it and do it with joy and passion and with all of your being. It is a good thing to get carried away with Christmas. After all, it is the moment of moments in the history of our world. If we aren’t afraid to let a basketball game get our blood pumping and raise our energy level, then we cannot celebrate too much the birth of the King of kings and Lord of lords.