Christmas season, and what is a good Christian woman to do? This good Christian woman will also be preparing to give finals and grading papers, right up until her family arrives—including the grandson!—for our holiday celebrations. (And yes, I know some people don’t consider a working Christian mother a good Christian mother, but I’m sure Jesus, and my children, will forgive me some day.)
Last year, I participated in the 31 Days Until Christmas challenge, receiving little bits of advice every day via email to help me prepare my heart and hearth for the holiday. (Mostly, I just participated so I could be included in a drawing for a free Kindle, which I did not win. Divine justice.)
Lacking any Christmas-related Proverbs 31 insight this year, I turned to the well of knowledge that is Pinterest, and found there all kinds of helpful hints about how I might have a “Christ Centered Christmas” and also keep “Christ in Christmas,” because we all know how stores like Target, by saying only “Happy Holidays,” are keeping us from really celebrating the holidays—unlike those “Merry Christmas” folks over at Wal*Mart.
Anyway, Pinterest. Apparently, if I want to make my home Christ-in-Christmas appropriate, I’ll be spending the next few weeks making all manner of crafts: painting nativity scenes on pebbles and wood; creating puppets from tongue depressors and yarn; and reconstructing the stable using graham crackers, marshmallows, and licorice (there must have been no dogs eager to devour abandoned food in that manager scene).
When I’m not knee-deep in crafting projects to keep Christ in Christmas, I’ll also be baking stuff. No, not the Christmas cookies I make in huge quantities every year, right before my student evaluations come due. Instead, in addition to the gingerbread nativities every good Christian woman makes, I’ll need to create sheep-shaped cupcakes, with tiny marshmallows stuck all the way around to stand in for wool.
And yes, the sheep-shaped cakes are cute, but I have to wonder 1) has the creator of these cupcakes ever seen a sheep in wintertime? White marshmallows just won’t do; and 2) Who has time to stick a zillion little marshmallows onto cupcakes? I can imagine maybe doing one or two, then deciding the heck with it and making the rest of the cupcakes shorn sheep. Or, in other words, just cupcakes.
The Pinterest boards about Christmas just make my tired and grumpy. The cute reminders about how to keep Christ in Christmas remind me that I have no ability in crafting, even less ability in decorating, and only a little ability in baking—or, at least, eating the dough before it’s been baked.
Just get off the damn boards, I imagine some of you might be saying. Easy enough, except that we get messages all around us—in the media, on social networking, in our friend groups, even in our churches—that real women will find ways to make the holidays extraordinary for our families. (This post on the latest Christmas craze, Elf on the Shelf, while not Christian related, is a good example of the demands women face in making the holidays happy.)
Whether it’s advertisements that remind us all that a woman will spend her Christmas in the kitchen, baking everyone else happy, or decorating the home into a sparkling wonderland; or Sarah Palin, letting us know in her new book that women need to protect Christmas against prevailing forces; or that today’s Christian woman will “concentrate her holiday efforts” on creating loving time with family: the pressure is on to keep Christ in Christmas, everyone happy and well fed, the sheep-shaped cupcakes in the oven.
So while I’m off painting my nativity rocks, and putting marshmallows on cupcakes, (and maybe grading a few finals), I hope you and yours will find ways to concentrate your efforts on enjoying each other, because that seems at least part of what keeping Christ in Christmas is about, no matter what Pinterest tells me.