O Holy Night: Part 1

Ahhh.. the month of December. Christmas lights galore, spreads and spreads of food and more gifts than you really know what to do with. It’s so easy this time of year to get wrapped up in the excess of Christmas, ignoring the true and real beauty of this season.  So we invite you along on this four-part journey with author Jen Hatmaker as she poses the challenge to give Christmas back to Jesus.

When I was in sixth grade, I received two Christmas presents I distinctly remember.

1. A coveted “Forenza” tag on a pair of black leggings with a corresponding purple-and-black plaid shirt. (The outfit could’ve been anything, as long as it was from The Limited.)
2. A red football jersey-type-sweatshirt.

I loved them both. Loved, loved, loved. I was certain these gifts were my ticket out of Dorkville. My feathered haircut and Bargain Selection glasses would become moot in light of my new stylish garb. The popular kids would wonder what they had previously missed in me. The cute boys I pined for would fight over inviting me to homecoming. I would probably start winning awards.

Until one unfortunate eavesdropping session.

I was supposed to be in bed but was actually creeping in the hall when I heard my mom say to my dad: “Her red sweatshirt? I found it at Walmart for $3.”

Oh. No. She. Didn’t.

And just like that, the sweatshirt lost all its charm. It became something a girl would wear because she couldn’t afford Espirit and her mother refused to buy her Guess jeans. It communicated: I’m poor. (I was in sixth grade, people. It was a very dramatic time.)

And that’s the only thing I remember from Christmas 1985. Not Jesus. Not reverence. Not generosity. Not gratitude. Just a selfish, materialistic reaction because every single gift I received wasn’t from an overpriced store with a name brand I could causally brag about. What a brat.

This sort of nonsense still happens every year. What happened to Christmas? When did it transform from something simple and beautiful to this? How did the enemy hijack Jesus’ birth and serve it on a silver platter to Big Marketing, tricking His own followers into financing the transfer?

Every year we bear this tension. But in the absence of a better plan or – let’s just say it – courage, we feed the machine yet again, giving Jesus lip service while teaching our kids to ask Santa for whatever they want because, you know, that’s really what Christmas boils down to.

I can’t take it anymore. What if a bunch of us pulled out of the system? What if we made a radical decision like: “Our family is going to celebrate Jesus this year in a manner worthy of a humble Savior who was born to two poor kids in a barn and yet still managed to rescue humanity”?

This excerpt taken from LifeWay’s HomeLife magazine. Stay connected for part 2 of this series this Thursday on the blog! For more information about Jen Hatmaker and her new release “The 7 Experiment,” click here.


  1. Judy Espeseth says

    If only we could focus on the ‘ reason for the season’. So many interruptions, demands and unrealistic expectations put upon women this time of yr. Supposed to look a certain faddish way while being superwoman and supermom.
    Give me beautiful, worshipful carols, sparkling candles, a feast with best friends, a star filled sky and I’m good!
    Time to remember our Lord and Savior and how he came to give us life eternal.

  2. Linda Trammell says

    The older I get the more magical Christmas becomes. I tear up when I hear “Away in a Manger” and my mom’s favorite “O Holy Night.” Things slow down – my niece who wanted “cool clothes,” is now married with her own kids. I put out only the decorations that are dear to me. The neighborhood kids trim my tree. It has become such a tradition that each has his own special ornaments he wants to put up. My Jewish friend brings her kids over to participate. Strangely enough, one of her children favors the nativity globe that plays “O Holy Night.” I tear up and my friend hands me a tissue.

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