Runaway Christmas

Written by Sister Michelle Watson on Monday, December 14, 2015. Posted in Special Series

Runaway Christmas

Today's post is part of a special series of Christmas articles. Each writer was given a photo and tasked with writing a spiritually minded article inspired by that image.

I've never made gingerbread cookies, but I do have this amazing copy of "The Gingerbread Man" in my collection of kids' picture books. (Yes, I actually do have said collection.)

I'm crazy about the illustrations in this particular book, but the story seems rather strange, don't you think? This old couple decides to bake a gingerbread boy. (Here they are giggling over the prospect.)

Gingerbread 2

And then their miniature confection comes to life and runs away from them. See…

Gingerbread 4

He then proceeds to meet a butcher, a sow, and a cow, all of whom he taunts by saying, "You can't catch me!" and for no apparent reason whatsoever (extreme cookie cravings?) they all run after him and try to do exactly what he says they can't.

Finally, the little rascal runs into a fox who outsmarts the conceited cookie into drawing near enough so he can grab him and gobble him down for an afternoon snack.

Gingerbread 9

What can the moral of this story possibly be?

I do actually have my own theories — thank you, English Lit degree — but I want to veer in a different direction and connect this story to Christmas — and my photo of the sad little gingerbread man who is sitting atop a pile of his smiling peers.

In the story, the gingerbread man is insanely confident in his own ability to outrun everyone else. Do you agree that the Christmas season offers more than a few opportunities to "run around"? And I'm not just talking about running to the store for gifts and goodies. I'm also talking about those neck-and-neck races where we subconsciously compete … Whose Christmas cards are cutest? Who sings the better solo in choir? Who bakes the best gingerbread?

And we're confident that we can keep pace…wrap the gifts, frost the cookies, change the bed sheets, hang the garland…

Sadly, I myself can all too easily get tangled up in the "performance" of Christmas.

I run myself ragged, and, although I may dodge minor mishaps, I end up running straight into the clutches of the fox of all foxes — the assassin of good cheer, the smasher of Christmas spirit, the despoiler of holy nights.

Then I end up like the sad little cookie in my photo. Everyone around me at church is enjoying heavenly peace, and I'm swallowed up in the stinking stomach of stuff that doesn't really matter at all.

I don't want this to be a runaway Christmas. If I spend too much time on the wrong things, I may climb to the top of the cookie pile, but I won't be happy there.

I want to rejoice in the birth of my Savior! Instead of running to the mall, I want to run into His arms. Instead of diving into party planning, I want to dive into His word. Instead of pouring over Pinterest, I want to pour my heart out in prayer.

There is no better time than Christmas to sit still and strengthen my connection to Christ, and I know that's ultimately what will put a smile on my face.

Editor's Note: Post a comment telling us what puts a smile on your face at Christmastime.

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.

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Comments (4)

  • Sharon Sloan

    Sharon Sloan

    14 December 2015 at 04:11 |
    Great message. Keep them coming. Such a blessing to me.

    reply

  • Enza Pusillo

    Enza Pusillo

    14 December 2015 at 06:49 |
    Wonderful message!!Thank you Sis. Michelle for reminding us where our hearts and minds should be focused. I just love to watch our children as they perform in their Christmas programs.

    reply

  • Linda Scolaro

    Linda Scolaro

    14 December 2015 at 08:20 |
    So well put. As many times as i~ hve read that book, i have never made that connection. Social media makes me feel inadequate at times to see whose trees are deco, cookies are bsked, etc. The things that put a smile on my face are receiving beautiful Christmas cards from loved ones, hearing Christmas songs in places like the grocery store. Most impoortantly, i have been setting the sacrament table at church as a newly ordained deaconesse, and there is no better way to remember Jesus, our Lord and Savior.

    reply

  • Sister Josie Jasmin

    Sister Josie Jasmin

    14 December 2015 at 12:15 |
    The most important thing that puts a smile on my face besides seeing the happiness and glee of the children.
    I smile very broadly to see the love and harmony in both my natural and spiritual family. To see the joy on every ones face is the greatest delight for me.

    reply

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