I continue to posit over and over that my niece and nephew are the funniest kids on the planet. And though she doesn't get nearly enough press on here, my big sister Amie is a kickass mom, and when it comes right down to it, that's why her kids are so cool. And you know I mean it because I said the a-money-money word and I rarely do that in so public a forum. But Amie is so great that she warrants a public swear every now and then. As big sisters go, I really hit the jackpot with mine. Little sister was a role I got comfortable with later in life, when I was maybe not so little, but it's hands-down one of my favorites. And as you can see, just because you're an adult doesn't mean you don't still think your big sisters are the best dressed and coolest ever. For many years I was fairly focused on maintaining my position as bossy elder sister to Ben & Thomas [sorry dudes], so I am experiencing little sister syndrome late in life. So good.
Anyway, for sure Timmy and Shelbie are smarter than me. I'm sure of it, because they are constantly saying things that make my internal dialogue go something like this: I knew that. Right? I did, didn't I? Surely... I must have... They say things that are so funny and profound all at once that it's hard to fully wrap my mind around it. Given their track record, I wasn't that surprised when Timmy said to Amie the other day, about Christmas, the following:
"So, is Santa like a clown for Jesus' birthday?"
[are. you. kidding. me.]
Today I spent more time trying to come up with a Christmas list than I did thinking about Jesus. I'm embarrassed about it, but it's the truth. And that's what Timmy was getting at when he said that to my sister.
"Jesus is what's important, right?"
"Santa is fun but Jesus is the big deal, right?"
"This party is really for Jesus, right?"
Whether he knew it or not, with that little question, Timmy hit a pretty hard theological nerve. For me at least. Because I think no matter how good you are, no matter how much you love Jesus and how well you evangelize and how many seminary degrees you have - yes, even for you - there may come a moment where you're so caught up with the clown that you forget about the real reason for the party. There are moments when things that are not the point take the spotlight over the real reason we're celebrating. When our focus goes to gifts that are shiny and tangible. When we gloss over the gifts that make our souls more beautiful, not so much our wardrobes.
Clowns aren't bad. They're fun, so long as they're not starring in a horror movie. But if you're at a birthday party, you don't fawn over the clown, do you? You don't tell the clown how much you love it, right, how glad you are it was born? Unless, of course, it's a clown's birthday... but let's forget that as an option or my whole analogy is shot. My point is this: instead of spending the holiday season focusing on frivolous entertainment, on Santa Claus and Christmas lists and peppermint mochas and the Mariah Carey Christmas album, I hope that we can all [myself perhaps most of all] heed Timmy's warning and not lose sight of what we're celebrating.
Because this party is really for Jesus.